(April 13, 2018 / JNS) Thousands of Palestinians gathered on the Israel-Gaza border on Friday for a third consecutive week of riots.
Israel Defense Forces officials reported that the violence of the riots led the IDF to use crowd dispersal methods including tear gas, as well as live fire.
Hamas called on Friday’s mob to burn Israeli flags and fly Palestinian ones. Though participants arrived starting in the morning, the largest crowd is expected in the afternoon after weekly Muslim prayers.
The demonstration is the third in a series of “March of Return” assemblies, each of which has been marked by Palestinians throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, burning tires and trying to create a smokescreen to breach the security fence. The stated goal of the riots is to take down the security fence between Israel and Gaza and “liberate Palestine.”
The IDF deployed snipers and tanks along the border ahead of Friday’s planned event.
To date, some 32 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli forces since March 30, according to Hamas. The terror group has claimed many of them as Hamas operatives, with others being identified by Israel as members of other terror groups.
Israel says it has opened fire on attackers who have targeted soldiers, damaged the security barrier and attempted to infiltrate into sovereign Israel to carry out terror attacks.
In previous riots, the crowd also tried to provoke Israeli soldiers into shooting their children. In one instance in the initial rally on March 30, Palestinian activists encouraged a 7-year-old girl to march towards the fence as a sham infiltrator in the hopes of drawing Israeli fire, which would lead to international condemnation.
IDF soldiers identified the girl before firing, ensuring she would not be harmed.