Israeli forces kill 19 Palestinians in Gaza clashes; over 1200 injured

GAZA – At least 19 Palestinians were killed and 1,200 wounded by Israeli security forces confronting one of the largest Palestinian demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border in recent years, medics said on Friday.

Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza health ministry spokesman told reporters that early on Friday, Israeli soldiers targeted two farmers close to the border with the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, killing a 27-year-old farmer and wounding another.

Later on Friday, six other Palestinian demonstrators were shot dead and around 500 injured by Israeli troops’ gunfire near the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel during heavy violent confrontations, according to al-Qedra.

The confrontations broke out Friday morning when Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Palestinians from approaching the fence.

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Young demonstrators threw stones at the soldiers, according to witnesses.

Al-Qedra said that six Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops’ gunfire during the clashes in eastern Gaza.

The eyewitnesses said the Israeli army sent more forces, including armored vehicles, snipers, sniffing dogs and soldiers equipped with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to prevent Palestinians from reaching the fence of the borders.

Thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, arrived by buses at six different areas in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel to join the “Great March of Return.”

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The march, which began Friday on the occasion of the Land Day, is scheduled to end on May 15, which coincides with 70 years of the Palestinian Day of “the Nakba,” or the catastrophe, when the state of Israel was born in 1948.

The first day of the rally marks the “Land Day” for the Palestinians when the Israeli authorities announced the confiscation of land in Galilee and Negev in 1976, leading to massive demonstrations among Palestinians inside Israel.

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza at the request of Kuwait, the Reuters reported quoting diplomats.