GAZA: Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas as thousands of Palestinians protested near the Gaza border fence Friday, and at least four demonstrators were killed, including a teenage boy, with over 600 wounded, Gaza health officials said.
More than 100 of the wounded, including a photographer for the French news agency Agence Press France, were hit by live fire, the officials added, as the demonstrators burned tires, threw stones and flew flaming kites in the latest in a series of mass protests.
Israeli forces have killed at least 128 Palestinians in protests along the border since a campaign was launched on March 30 to demand the right to return to ancestral lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its creation, hospital officials say.
Late Friday, Israel said Gaza militants opened fire and struck an Israeli military post. No injuries were reported.
The march coincided with the annual “Jerusalem Day,” instituted by Iran to protest Israeli rule of the holy city.
In the capitals of Iran and Iraq, thousands of people marked Jerusalem Day with protests, with some chanting “Death to Israel” or burning Israeli flags and effigies of President Donald Trump.
Among the dead Friday was 15-year-old Haitham Al-Jamal. His family said he was taking part in a protest in Rafah, in southern Gaza, when he was shot. A total of 12 children under age 16 have been killed in the protests.
French news agency Agence France Press said one of its photographers, Mohammed Abed Al-Baba, was wounded at a mass rally after Israeli forces opened fire. AFP said Al-Baba was wearing a press vest and helmet about 200 meters from the border when hurt.
It said he was wounded below the knee while trying to take a photo of a wounded protester after Israeli troops opened fire. The photographer’s injury was not life-threatening, but he was to undergo surgery.
After Friday prayers, Israeli troops fired volleys of tear gas, including from drones, that sent protesters running for cover. One man with a bullhorn shouted, “America is the biggest evil.”
At one point, seven activists in black-and-white striped shirts meant to resemble concentration camp uniforms from World War II approached the fence.
“We want to remind the world that the Israeli occupation is committing the same massacres that the Nazis committed,” said activist Ahmed Abu Artima.