(April 6, 2018 / JNS) Thousands of Palestinian rioters burned tires, threw Molotov cocktails and carried out terror attacks while attempting to infiltrate Israel on Friday as part of the latest round of protests and clashes on the Gaza-Israel border.
“Over the past hour, rioters have attempted to damage & cross the security fence under the cover of smoke from their burning tires. They also attempted to carry out terror attacks & hurl of explosive devices & firebombs,” the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Unit posted on Twitter late Friday afternoon.
According to the IDF, which has declared the immediate area a closed military zone, Hamas has been attempting to create a “war zone” in the region with protests in five locations along the Gaza border.
As such, it has thwarted infiltration attempts and is responding with riot dispersal means, including water cannons to put out the fires, a huge fan to disperse the smoke and live fire in accordance with rules of engagement.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, three Palestinian men have been killed and 200 injured as of Friday afternoon. These figures could not be independently confirmed.
Observers say that this week’s protests are significantly smaller than last week, with only an estimated 10,000 protestors as opposed to last week’s estimated 30,000 protestors.
The past two weeks of protests along the Israel-Gaza border are part of a larger Hamas-planned “March of Return” protests that will culminate in a million-person march in mid-May, coinciding with Israel’s 70th anniversary and the Palestinian’s “Nakba Day,” which the Palestinians mark the “catastrophe” of the establishment of Israel.
On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged Israel to exercise “extreme caution” while calling on the Jewish state to allow the Palestinians to protest peacefully. Meanwhile, the White House, while urging the Palestinians to protest peacefully and to stay at least 500 meters from the Israeli border, also condemned Palestinian leaders who they accused of using the protests to spread violence.
“We condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protestors, including children, to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed. Instead, we call for a renewed focus by all parties on finding solutions to the dire humanitarian challenges facing Gazans,” said Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy.