Four Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in Gaza Strip: ministry

Apr 21, 2018, 04:24
Four Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in Gaza Strip: ministry

Some of the activists threw stones toward the fence or flew kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails. So far, a total of 32 people have been killed, while more than 1,600 have been wounded.

Despite global criticism over the use of lethal force, Israel has refused to reverse its open-fire policy and continues to deploy snipers along the border.

Since the beginning of the violent demonstrations along the border, 34 Palestinians have allegedly been killed by IDF fire and the bodies of two of them who tried to attack an IDF position are still being held by Israel, according to Israeli media.

The protests are scheduled to culminate on May 15, when, according to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, the Gaza scenes would be replicated elsewhere on Israel's frontiers.

Among the thousands gathered to protest, at least hundreds were approaching the fence and throwing stones and burning tyres, an AFP correspondent said. Israeli authorities said that protesters were burning tires and attempting to send kites with firebombs on them across the border to burn Israeli fields.

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Since 1948, the Israeli regime has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, despite United Nations resolutions and worldwide law that upholds people's right to return to their homelands.

The Israel defence forces estimated there were 3,000 Palestinians involved on Friday, a fraction of previous attendances.

The protest campaign, dubbed The Great March of Return, is leading up to May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, commemorating their displacement around the time of Israel's founding in 1948.

"We are implanting an idea in the minds of people across the world that Palestinians have rights and they hope for the right of return", Abu Shariek said. Most kites showed the colours of the Palestinian flag. One white kite bore the Nazi swastika.

Earlier, Israeli military aircraft dropped leaflets near the Gaza border warning Palestinians to keep away from the fence separating the coastal enclave from Israel, the IDF said.

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The border blockade has trapped almost all of them in the tiny coastal territory, gutted the economy and deepened poverty. Gaza residents typically get fewer than five hours of electricity per day, while unemployment has soared above 40 percent. "Our people will outnumber the occupation and force it from our land", he said. Hamas critics say the group's refusal to disarm has been a key obstacle to ending the blockade.

Israeli forces were using tear gas in addition to live fire.

Some of the injured were overcome by tear gas, hit with rubber-coated steel pellets or hit by shrapnel, officials said.

The claim that Israel indiscriminately shot people or shot peaceful protesters is belied by the fact that the vast majority of Gazans killed at the border were military members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups.

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