Health official says Gaza man killed by Israeli tank fire

Marsha Scott
April 1, 2018

The Palestinian "March of Return", a series of mass protests along the border between Gaza and Israel, is taking place on today Friday with thousands of demonstrators rallying in six different locations amid tension in the Gaza Strip.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot says the military will not allow mass infiltration into Israel or tolerate damage to the border barrier during a planned Palestinian march on the Gaza border with Israel on Friday. A second Palestinian was reported killed but the Hamas-run health ministry didn't immediately confirm the death.

Earlier on the same day, Israeli tank shelling into Gaza had killed a Palestinian farmer, identified as Omar Sammour, 27. Local eyewitnesses said he was on his land near the border when the incident occurred.

At the same time, Israel called bus drivers in the Gaza Strip to warn them not to transport Gazans to the borders, but Palestinians' longing for their homeland conquers every warning and threat.

Camping and protests in Gaza are expected to continue until mid-May, when the United States is set to inaugurate its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem.

"Hamas is making cynical use of Palestinian refugees living in the Gaza Strip as cannon fodder against the IDF, who have to protect the border fence and can not allow infiltration into Israeli territory at any price", Ben Menachem said.

Israel, Hamas and its allies are observing a ceasefire since the 2014 war, the third in the enclave in six years. Buses took protesters to the border area, including five tent encampments set up from north to south, several hundred meters from the border fence.

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Eyewitnesses said an Israeli tank opened fire at the two farmers who approached their farm to collect parsley.

The event dubbed "The Great Return March" will start on Friday and is dedicated to the so-called Land Day commemorating the day in 1976, when Israeli troops killed six Arabs protesting against confiscation of land.

The Border Police and Israel Police also sent additional forces to southern Israel in order to act as a secondary defense line in case Palestinians made it past the soldiers along the border.

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' supreme leader along with Gaza leader Yehiyeh Sinwar visited the tents. The vast majority of Gaza residents are descendants of Palestinians who fled or were driven from communities in what is now Israel.

Water facilities were being installed and medical teams deployed to allow people to stay for long periods.

Palestinians claim the city's Israeli-annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

"If Israel deliberately harms protesters or our people we will mount a harsh response", he said.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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