Palestinian health officials said 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and more than 750 hit by live rounds Friday, making it the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas. In Friday's confrontations, large crowds gathered near the fence, with smaller groups of protesters rushing forward, throwing stones and burning tires. Israeli troops responded with live fire and rubber-coated steel pellets, while drones dropped tear gas from above. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said that while thousands of Palestinians approached the border Friday, those engaged in stone-throwing were in the hundreds. General Manelis denied soldiers used excessive force, saying those killed by Israeli troops were men between the ages of 18 and 30 who were involved in violence and belonged to militant factions.
Palestinian and Israeli relations intensify as Palestinians protest along Israeli security border to protest the Israeli blockade around Gaza. Conor Powell has the story. Israel warned Saturday of a stepped-up response if violent protests in Gaza continued as the head of the United Nations called for an investigation into Friday's deadly clashes in the volatile border zone. Palestinian health officials said 15 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 wounded by Israeli fire as protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers near the border fence separating Gaza and Israel. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief army spokesman, denied allegations of excessive use of force, saying those killed by Israeli troops were men between the ages of 18 and 30 who were involved in violence and belonged to militant factions. He alleged Gaza health officials exaggerated the number of those wounded and that several dozen at most were injured by live fire while the rest were merely shaken up by tear gas and other riot dispersal means.
KHUZAA, GAZA STRIP – Thousands of Palestinians protested along Gaza's sealed border with Israel on Friday, engulfing the volatile area in black smoke from burning tires to try to block the view of Israeli snipers and cheering a Hamas strongman who pledged that the border fence will eventually fall. Israeli troops opened fire from across the border, killing at least nine Palestinians and wounding 491 others -- 33 of them seriously -- in the second mass border protest in a week, Gaza health officials said. A well-known Palestinian journalist was among the dead, and hundreds of others suffered other injuries, including tear gas inhalation, the officials said. The deaths brought to at least 31 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the previous week. Early Saturday, Palestinian health officials confirmed that Yasser Murtaga had died from a gunshot wound sustained while covering demonstrations near the Israeli border in Khuzaa.
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP – Palestinian mourners in the Gaza Strip on Saturday were burying their dead, including a journalist, after Israeli troops killed nine during the latest border clashes in a week of bloodshed. Thousands of protesters approached the border fence around Gaza for a second Friday in a row, burning tires and hurling stones at Israeli forces, who responded with tear gas and live ammunition. In addition to the nine dead, at least 491 were wounded by Israeli gunfire, the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza enclave said. Israel said there were around 20,000 protesters and that they were seeking to breach the border. Numbers were down from the previous Friday, when tens of thousands approached the border in demonstrations that saw Israeli forces kill 19 Palestinians, making it the bloodiest day in Gaza since a 2014 war.
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP – Thousands of Palestinians marched to Gaza's border with Israel on Friday in the largest such demonstration in recent memory, and 15 were killed by Israeli fire on the first day of what Hamas organizers said will be six weeks of daily protests against a stifling border blockade. It was the bloodiest day in the strip since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas. Fourteen of the marchers were killed and more than 750 wounded by Israeli fire in clashes along the border fence, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Another Palestinian was killed earlier Friday. The Israeli military said thousands of Palestinians threw stones and rolled burning tires toward troops deployed on the other side of the border fence.