Thousands of Gaza residents turned out along the Gaza-Israel border to participate in another day of anger against the Israeli army. This is the 26th consecutive Friday of protests that the Palestinians call The Great March of Return.
As usual, Israeli troops fired tear gas, while the protesters threw stones, burned tires and flew flaming kites to antagonize Israeli snipers.
“The reason for the presence of all these masses and rebellious youth here is that they want their right of return, self-determination, and to break the siege imposed on them,” said a young Palestinian protester.
Several Palestinians tried to cross the border fence, and practice what they say is their right to return to their homeland in what is now Israel.
The Health Ministry in Gaza announced that a 25-year-old Palestinian was killed and more than 300 were injured. In total, 183 Palestinians have been killed and about 20,000 injured over the past 26 weeks of protests. One Israeli soldier was killed by a sniper in Gaza.
Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of the Hamas Political Bureau, said that the Israeli siege and escalations would definitely lead to increased tensions and outbreaks of violence in Gaza.
“These marches, which are increasing, are crawling towards our land and our borders. We will use all means necessary to break the siege, we are determined to remove the illegal borders, stop the Israeli aggression and end the occupation forever,” he said.
The Great March of Return protests were launched on March 30 by thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has accused Hamas of provoking violence at the protests, which Hamas denies. The Israeli Army now considers areas near the border fence as a closed military zone.