Israel strikes Gaza as 31st #GreatReturnMarch victim named

Israel strikes Gaza as 31st #GreatReturnMarch victim named
Israel struck civil administrative targets, as well as Hamas' military wing on Sunday night, as a further victim of Friday's second wave of Great Return March protests is named.
3 min read
09 April, 2018
Despite calls to end the protests amid Israeli violence, Gazans intend to persevere [Getty]
Israeli planes conducted airstrikes on Gaza early on Monday morning, allegedly targeting Hamas positions in the north of the strip.

The siege comes shortly after Israel issued threats to target Hamas, in an attempt to prevent further protests marking the Great Return March.

Israel launched three rocket missiles targeting the Qassam brigades, Hamas' military wing, in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, before bombing Eastern Jabaliya's civil administration headquarters, also located in the north of the enclave.

Gazan authorities have not yet released any details of casualties or the extent of the damage caused.

On Saturday, the Israeli military issued threats warning of its intent to attack Hamas positions and headquarters, if Gazans continued to protest as part of the Great Return March

In pictures: Palestinians protest along Gaza border in Great Return March

In another development, Palestinian health sources announced the death of Marwan Awad Qadeeh, who succumbed to his wounds after being shot by Israeli forces several days ago east of Khuza'a, in the southern Gaza strip, according to al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Since Palestinians in Gaza launched the Great Return March on March 30, as part of a six-week protest marking 70 years since more than 700,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes during the Nakba, 29 have died after being shot by Israeli forces. 

In addition, some 2,850 have been wounded, including 1,296 from live ammunition fired at protesters, the vast majority of whom were unarmed.

Israel's excessive use of lethal force against unarmed protesters has been widely condemned as a massacre and caused international outrage.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday called for an end to war crimes being carried out in Gaza by Israel.

The Israeli military has also been accused of deliberately targeting journalists after Yasser Murtaja, a well-known Gaza reporter, was killed on Friday as he covered the protests.

In addition to the 29 official casualties, two more bodies of Palestinians are being held by Israeli forces, and have not been given back to their families for burial.

A prominent Palestinian official told al-Araby al-Jadeed on Saturday that the leaders of Hamas have been contacted by international and Arab parties, who called on them to stop protesters from approaching Gaza's border fence and to prevent any further demonstrations marking the Great Return March.

According to the source, "Hamas has refused such orders to prevent the march, affirming that it is a popular movement of the public, and no one has the right to prevent them from marching, in light of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza."

The Great Return March this year coincided with Land Day, commemorated every March 30 to remember the six Palestinians killed while defending their homes from Israeli forces in 1976. 

The protests are set to continue for six weeks, until the anniversary of the Nakba in mid-May, to call for the implementation of the right for Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as well as the end to the Israeli blockade waged against the enclave.