Seven Palestinians, including three teenagers, killed in Gaza protests

Seven Palestinians, including three teenagers, killed in Gaza protests
Four men in their 20s were also killed, with 210 people hospitalised, including 90 with gunshot wounds, Gaza's health ministry said.
3 min read
29 September, 2018
Seven Palestinians, including three teenagers, were killed by Israeli fire [Getty]

Seven Palestinians, including two boys aged 12 and 14, were killed by Israeli forces along the Gaza border Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled strip said.

It was the bloodiest day of border protests since 14 May, when more than 60 Palestinians died in violence accompanying the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, a move that enraged Palestinians.

Nasser Mosabih, 12, Mohammed al-Houm, 14, and Iyad Al-Shaar, 18, were shot dead on Friday along the frontier with Israel, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

Four men in their 20s were also killed, the spokesman said, adding that 210 people were hospitalised, including 90 with gunshot wounds.

The Israeli army said in a statement that some 20,000 "rioters" had gathered at multiple sites along the border and that people had hurled "grenades and explosive devices in several different locations".

The military said troops fired "in accordance with standard operating procedures" and that an Israeli aircraft also struck two positions belonging the Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.

Palestinians have been protesting at least weekly along the Gaza border since 30 March in what they call the "Great March of Return".

Friday's protests were bigger than those in recent weeks.

At least 193 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, the majority during border protests. One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in that period.

Free fall

The Israeli military declined to comment on Friday's reported deaths.

It said in a statement that troops spotted several Palestinians breaching the border fence and briefly entering Israeli territory before fleeing back into Gaza.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for unrest originating in the territory under its control.

The two sides have fought three wars since 2008, and in between there have been spikes of violence marked by Palestinian cross-border rocket and mortar fire and retaliatory Israeli air strikes.

Throughout the protests since March, Israel has said its actions are necessary to defend the border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to attempt infiltrations and attacks.

Palestinians and human rights groups say protesters have been shot while posing no real threat.

The protests are demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to homes their families fled in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel and which are now in Israel.

Israel says any such mass return would mean the end of it as a Jewish state.

The march is also a protest against a more than 10-year-old Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Repeated deadly attacks by Israeli troops along the frontier have brought warnings of the risk of a new conflict.

The World Bank on Tuesday said that the Gaza Strip's economy is in "free fall" as cuts to aid and salaries add to the effects of the already crippling Israeli blockade.