Israelis take a few out for good measure and tear gas the rest.
They ought to bring in the big guns and turn them loose. That soil needs fertilization.
The Israel Defense Forces estimated that 17,000 Palestinians were taking part in “March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza border, spread out among the five main protest sites.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported that four men were killed during the mass protests along the border, bringing the toll death toll on Friday to four. Some 370 were injured as of 2:30 p.m., with most of the injuries being caused by rubber bullets and tear gas. A smaller number were hit by live fire.
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The army confirmed that soldiers had shot at “main instigators.” It said some protesters were lighting tires on fire and throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at IDF troops on the other side of the border. The military maintained that it would not allow Palestinian protesters to “violate Israel’s sovereignty” by crossing the security fence.
The main sites for protests in Gaza were Rafah and Khan Younis in the south, el-Bureij and Gaza City in the center, and Jabalya in the northern portion of the coastal enclave.
Earlier Friday morning, a Palestinian farmer was killed by Israeli tank fire near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry said. Witnesses said he was working his land near the border when the shells hit, but Hadashot news reported that the army suspected the man had been trying to place an improvised explosive device near the security fence.
Via through social media, leaflets dropped from airplanes and statements to news outlets, Israeli officials have repeatedly warned Palestinians not to try to breach the security fence during the protests.
On Friday, the army stationed additional infantry battalions and more than 100 snipers along the border in order to prevent that from happening. 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.
The IDF declared the area around the Israeli side of the Gaza border a “closed military zone,” forbidding Israeli civilians from getting close without army permission.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot was leading the army’s riot control operation, with assistance from the head of the Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, the head of IDF Operations Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, and Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
The army said it held the Hamas terror group responsible for any violence that takes place along the Gaza security fence during the protests and for the “consequences” of it.
Over the past few days, Palestinians in Gaza have pitched tents near the volatile border with Israel ahead of the planned six-week “March of Return” protest that began on Friday.