Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council late Friday that Israeli forces continue demonstrating the "cruelty of their occupation machine, responding to the calls of unarmed civilians for freedom and justice with brutal and lethal force." He said one of the latest victims was a 25-year-old disabled man.
Health officials in Gaza, which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement, say more than 220 Palestinians have been killed since they began weekly border protests on March 30 to demand the easing of Israel's blockade on the territory and the right to return to land lost in the 1948 war of Israel's founding.
The blockade has made it increasingly difficult for Hamas to govern. Widespread desperation among Gaza's 2 million residents -- who get only a few hours of electricity a day and undrinkable tap water, in addition to suffering from soaring joblessness and limited freedom of travel -- fuels their participation in the Hamas-orchestrated protests.
JERUSALEM – The Israeli military says it has caught two Palestinians from Gaza who sneaked into Israel carrying knives. Thursday's incident is the fifth such infiltration in as many days and raises concern ahead of mass protests Palestinians are planning Friday along the Israel-Gaza border. Earlier this week, three Gazans with grenades made it about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) onto Israel before they were caught. No one was harmed in the infiltrations but they set off great worry in southern Israeli communities already fearful that militants have dug underground tunnels they could use to enter Israel to carry out attacks. Gaza's Hamas rulers are urging residents to gather near the fence and march toward Israeli positions.