(May 14, 2018 / JNS) The death toll along the Israel-Gaza border was rising on Monday amid ongoing Palestinian rioting and violence as the tens of thousands of Gazans, encouraged by the Palestinian terror group Hamas, have rushed the border in an attempt to carry out attacks on Israeli security forces and also infiltrate Israel.
“Over 35,000 Palestinians are currently taking part in violent riots along the security fence. The rioters are hurling firebombs & explosive devices, burning tires, throwing rocks & attempting to ignite fires in Israeli territory,” the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Unit said in a statement on Twitter.
The IDF added that soldiers are responding with riot-dispersal means and live fire, according to standard operating procedures.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said as many as 52 Palestinians have been killed so far in clashes. The IDF has said that three of those killed had attempted to plant explosives along the border, while in other incidents the IDF responded when Gazans opened fire on them.
Additionally, Israeli Air Force aircraft targeted five Hamas targets, including a military training facility, in northern Gaza.
“The strike was conducted in response to the violent acts carried out by Hamas over last few hours along the security fence,” the IDF said.
A short while ago, an IAF fighter jet struck 5 Hamas terror organization targets in a military training facility in northern Gaza pic.twitter.com/eDKTlOzVVU
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 14, 2018
The situation along the Gaza border comes amid festivities in Jerusalem to inaugurate the U.S. embassy there.
On Sunday, ahead of the expected protests, the IDF issued a warning that as many as 250,000 Gaza residents were expected to rush the fence, which put border communities at risk of a “massacre,” due to Hamas’s stated goal of destroying the fence and marching on Jerusalem. On Monday, most of the rioters gathered facing Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the same town where 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed outside his home by mortar fire from Gaza during the Gaza war in 2014.
The rioters were expected to demonstrate between 12 to 14 locations along the fence in a bid to wear out and confuse the forces.
Hamas closed schools and institutions of higher learning on Monday, and forced stores to close in a bid to attract participants, offering all rioters free transportation to one of many violent demonstration sites.
Israel’s Shin Bet security services accused Iran of funding Hamas’s protests. The accusation was made following the arrest of a Hamas member caught infiltrating Israel, who told investigators that Hamas was instructing members to cut the fence and steal security cameras so rioters could pull the fences down on Monday.