Two youths, aged 14 and 18, have been killed by IDF fire during the latest March of Return protests along the Gaza border with Israel, the 46th week of Palestinian civil disobedience there.
The IDF fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to chase protesters away from the border fence separating Israel from the Palestinian enclave. The two young persons were killed during this latest rally, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, noting that at least 18 others were injured in the clashes.
“Please, Hasan – wake up! I’ll never make you upset again.”
A Palestinian mother grieves over her slain 14-year-old son, who was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza today. pic.twitter.com/9qRpXD3bJz
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) February 8, 2019
The IDF defended the use of force, claiming that some of the rioters, which numbered around 8,000, threw ‘grenades’ and ‘explosives’ into Israel. The Israeli army noted that only the “barbed wire” and “brave IDF soldiers” managed to thwart Palestinian infiltration.
What prevented 8,000 violent rioters in Gaza from infiltrating into Israel? Some barbed wire & brave IDF soldiers. As rioters threw grenades + explosives into Israel today, our troops stood guard, ensuring innocent Israelis living minutes away stayed safe. RT to show your support pic.twitter.com/njcNRBTN3b
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) February 8, 2019
Palestinians have been holding protests every Friday since the end of last March, demanding the implementation of refugees’ right of return to the lands they lost during the establishment of the state of Israel. At least 295 Palestinians were killed and about 6,000 wounded during the 46 weeks of clashes. The degree of violence on several occasions escalated into cross-border exchanges between Hamas and Israeli forces.
Instead of addressing the root causes of Palestinian discontent, Tel Aviv continues to blame Gaza’s Hamas leadership for the ongoing clashes. After months of mass protests, Israel announced the beginning of a “smart fence” construction along the border last week.
Set to stand six meters off the ground, the barrier is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The fence will use ground radars, electromagnetic sensors, and underground barriers to seal off the perimeter from Hamas infiltration.
“The barrier is unique and especially suited to threats from the Gaza Strip and will provide a maximum response to prevent entry into Israeli territory,” Brig.-Gen. Eran Ophir, head of the army’s fence-building administration, said last Sunday.
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