Gaza protests: All the latest updates

For more than four months, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been protesting along the fence with Israel, demanding their right to return to the homes and land their families were expelled from 70 years ago.

The Great March of Return rallies culminated on May 15 to mark what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or Catastrophe – a reference to the forced removal of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages to clear the way for Israel’s establishment in 1948.

The mass Friday demonstrations have since continued.

Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 159 Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave and wounded more than 16,000 people, according to health officials in Gaza.

Latest updates: Friday, August 10

Two Palestinians killed, hundreds wounded by Israeli forces

Israeli forces have shot dead two Palestinians, including one volunteer paramedic, according to health officials in the Gaza Strip, as protesters gathered along the Israeli border fence for the 20th week.

WATCH: Gaza tensions: Hamas says a truce agreed with Israel

Abdullah al-Qatiti, a 26-year-old paramedic, and Saeed Aloul, 55, were shot and killed in southern Gaza on Friday, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

Hundreds of others were injured, with 176 being treated on the field and 131 taken to the hospital, added al-Qidra

“There is a lot of tear gas being fired by the Israeli military using drones,” said Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the protests in Gaza. 

“The coming hours will be critical,” he added. “It is tense here and there are fears that if there is any serious provocation by either side, we could yet again see another escalation in violence.”

Colleagues of slain Palestinian medic react at a hospital in southern Gaza Strip [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

This week’s protests, which follow deadly Israeli air attacks and artillery shelling on the besieged enclave, began at around 14:00 GMT.

The demonstrations come a day after Hamas and Israel reached an Egypt-brokered deal to end the flare-up in violence. But the Israeli government has not officially confirmed the agreement.

EU sounds alarm over Gaza violence

The European Union says a recent escalation of violence “has brought Gaza and Israel dangerously close to yet more conflict”, adding that an urgent “de-escalation” was needed to keep civilians from further risk.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed at least three people in Gaza, including a 23-year-old woman who was almost nine months pregnant and her 18-month-old daughter. 

The Israeli military launched more than 140 attacks after about 150 rockets were fired from the coastal enclave.

A statement by Hamas’ military force said it was responsible for the rockets. It said the Palestinian “resistance” had fired a large number of projectiles at “enemy positions in the Gaza envelope”.

“The rocket fire from Gaza towards communities in southern Israel as well as other violent actions and provocations against Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian militants are totally unacceptable,” an EU foreign affairs spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.

“While having the right to defend itself, Israel is expected to continue to exercise restraint and do everything to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza. The death of a pregnant Palestinian mother and her child in this latest escalation is a tragic loss.”

Saturday, August 4

A Palestinian teenager has died from his wounds after being shot in the abdomen by Israeli forces during a protest on Friday. 

Muaz al-Suri, 15, was demonstrating near Gaza’s fence with Israel when he was shot east of the Bureij refugee camp. He died early Saturay, the health ministry said.

Friday, August 3

Palestinian killed by Israeli army sniper 

A Palestinian man has been shot dead by Israeli soldiers and at least 220 others were wounded during protests near the fence with Israel in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian health officials.

Ahmed Yaghi, 25, was killed by a sniper east of Gaza city, health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said.

Of the 220 injured, 90 suffered wounds as a result of live fire, he added.  

Hamas leaders to discuss ceasefire deal 

Several exiled Hamas leaders have entered Gaza to discuss a ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt and the UN.

Prominent leader Saleh al-Arouri, who is wanted by Israel, returned from Lebanon for the first time since 2010 to attend the talks scheduled for Friday.

He crossed the border from Egypt on Thursday, after Egyptian and UN assurances over his safety, with eight other Hamas leaders based outside of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also delayed a visit to Colombia and called a special cabinet meeting on Sunday to monitor developments.

“We are seeing these intensive efforts and there is more international spotlight on the situation because the life for people here has become increasingly difficult over the years under the siege by Israel, Egypt’s blockade and also the sanctions from the Palestinian Authority,” said Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaza. 

Saturday, July 28

Gaza teen dies of wounds from Israeli border fire

A Gaza teenager died of his wounds on Saturday after being shot by Israeli troops during protests along the border. 

Palestinian teen dies after being shot by Israeli army

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory in a statement identified him as Mohmen al-Hams, 17. He was shot in the chest during protests near the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Friday.

Troops shot dead two other Palestinians during Friday’s protests.

Friday, July 27

Israeli forces kill Palestinian, 12

Majdi Ramzi Kamal al-Satra, a 12-year-old Palestinian, was killed by Israeli army fire, according to health officials in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said the boy was killed east of Khan Younis.

His killing raises the number of Palestinians shot dead on Friday to two. Earlier in the day Ghazi Mohammad Abu Mustafa, 43, succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the head.

A Palestinian nurse reacts upon seeing the body of her husband who was killed by Israeli troops during Friday’s protest. [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the protest site in Gaza, said the Israeli military was also using drones to drop tear gas on demonstrators. 

“Israel has been using these drones to drop tear gas further back into the crowd. Closer to the fence, Israeli snipers keep watch and sporadically open fire.” 

A female protester told Al Jazeera that the poor living conditions in the besieged enclave were pushing people to go out and demand their rights. 

“We are suffering, there is no electricity, no water … people are going hungry. It’s painful, we will keep standing, we will come here to show the whole world we want our rights.” 

At least 184 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces on Friday, 117 of whom needed hospital treatment, said al-Qidra. Seventy cases involved live bullets. Among the wounded were 14 children and 10 women, as well as four paramedics and one journalist.

A total of 151 Palestinians have been killed since the Great March of Return protests started on March 30.

Gaza situation ‘very tense’ amid standoff

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the protests in the Gaza Strip, said that apart of the killing of Ghazi Mohammad Abu Mustafa by Israeli forces, 11 other Palestinians were believed to have been wounded.

Stratford said that Israeli soldiers also used “a lot of tear gas” against protesters, with much of it fired from drones.

“The situation is very tense,” added our correspondent, adding there were growing fears of a further escalation following the recent wave of attacks that hit the besieged enclave.

A medic tends to a wounded Palestinian during Friday’s protest. [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

“What we’re seeing here is a standoff between Hamas and the various armed factions in Gaza and the Israelis. Hamas says that these people have every right to continue demonstrating and describe this form of protest using incendiary balloons and kites as being peaceful and they say they have every right to defend the people of Gaza using their weapons.”

Israeli forces kill Palestinian

Israeli soldiers have shot dead Ghazi Mohammad Abu Mustafa, a 43-year-old Palestinian, near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Three ambulance volunteers also were injured in the shooting near the fence with Israel.

According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, Mustafa was shot in the head and subsequently taken to a hospital, where he died of his wounds.

The total number of Palestinians killed so far in the ongoing protests since late March is now 150. More than 16,000 others have been wounded.

Half of those suffering wounds were hit by live gunfire, and at least 60 of them have had a limb amputated.

Wednesday, July 25

An Israeli air raid in the Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians on Wednesday. 

Ahmed al-Bsous, 28, Ubadah Farawneh, 29 and Mohamed al-Aareer, 27, died of their wounds shortly upon arriving at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. 

The attack came days after a United Nations-brokered ceasefire helped halt an earlier wave of assaults against the Gaza Strip last week.

Saturday, July 21

Ceasefire appears to hold 

The “return to calm” announced by Hamas in Gaza appears to be holding. 

Israeli officials have yet to comment on the ceasefire announced by Hamas earlier in the morning. 

Hamas and Israel agree on Gaza ceasefire: group spokesman

Hamas and Israel agreed to a ceasefire early on Saturday, according to a spokesman for the Palestinian group governing the besieged Gaza Strip.

“With international and UN efforts, we reached (an agreement) to return to the previous state of calm between the (Israeli) occupation and the Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.

Israeli forces kill fourth Palestinian; Israeli soldier shot dead

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian during the protests in the Gaza Strip near the fence with Israel, raising the number of Palestinians killed on Friday to four. 

Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and teargas canisters towards the protesters along the fence, killing Mohammad Sharif Badwan and wounding 120 others, according to health officials in Gaza. 

The killing of Badwan, 27, came after Hamas said three of its members were killed earlier in the day in air strikes in the southern part of the Strip.

Israeli forces kill four Palestinians; Israeli soldier killed

Later on Friday, the Israeli military said gunfire at the Gaza fence killed an Israeli soldier.

The military said a “terrorist squad” fired at troops and one soldier was severely injured and later died of his wounds. He was the first Israeli military fatality in months of violence along the Gaza fence.

The violence raised fears of a new conflict.

“We understand that the Israeli security cabinet has been meeting this afternoon in order to assess whether a large-scale military operation is needed on Gaza,” said Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the besieged enclave.

“The people of Gaza this evening are very afraid after today’s protests and certainly these air strikes that have happened,” he added.

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City [Ahmed Zakot/Reuters]

Israel launches large-scale air attacks in Gaza

The Israeli air force has launched a series of air strikes on several places in the Gaza Strip.

The targets, allegedly belonging to Hamas, were attacked as a result of Friday’s shooting incidents in which at least one Israeli soldier was wounded.

Israeli soldiers have been put on high alert, the spokesperson for the Israeli army added.

Tense day of protests

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the protests in Gaza, said tensions were on the rise despite the relatively small crowd that showed up.

“We haven’t seen huge numbers of people turn out – yes, there’s been a presence, yes the protest took shape the way we have seen over the past 17 weeks but the crowds were smaller,” Dekker said.

“What makes it more tense is there has been an exchange … of fire between Israel and Hamas, and Israel attacked various Hamas posts,” she added.

“This all comes amid a very tense political situation. Israel has made it very clear that if Hamas doesn’t stop the incendiary balloons and kites across the fence that it will clamp down heavily militarily.

“We haven’t seen any incendiary balloons or kites across the fence where we are, but certainly there is a feeling of unease here – there might be behind-the-scenes negotiations going on, but everyone you speak to will tell you that the situation remains very hard to read, whether there is going to be an escalation between the two sides or not,” Dekker said.

Three Palestinians killed on tense day of protests

As protests along the fence with Israel entered the 17th straight week, Israel on Friday attacked Hamas positions in the Strip, killing at least three people, according to health officials in Gaza.

“Three Palestinians were martyred by Israeli occupation forces, including two in the northern Gaza Strip and a third in the southern city of Rafah,” ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.

He did not provide the names or ages of the individuals.

However, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, said three of its members had been killed by Israeli air raids and tank fire in Khan Younis and Rafah.

In a statement, the group identified the men as Shaaban Abu Khater, Mohamed Abu Farhana and Mahmoud Qeshta.

The Israeli army said the attacks were in response to shots being fired at their troops along the Gaza fence. 

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the protests in Gaza, said tensions were on the rise. 

“We’ve had a couple of incidents today. We’ve had Israel target three Hamas watchtowers. In the south of Gaza, two Palestinians were killed and one Israeli soldier was injured in what we understand was an exchange of fire in the southern Gaza Strip,” Dekker said.

“The shooting across the border, the gunfire, the tank shelling – it shows that this is politically not resolved and it could still go any way really.”

Earlier on Friday, Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Liebermann said that there is a risk of military escalation if incendiary kites and balloons continue to be sent over the fence by protesters.

Those devices have led to the burning of thousands of acres of Israeli land.

“We tried to be sensible and responsible but the heads of Hamas are leading us to a defensive situation, a situation where we would have to go for a wide painful military operation,” Liebermann said.

Thursday, July 19

Israeli air attack kills one Palestinian

An air raid by the Israeli air force killed one Palestinian and wounded three others, in an attack east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the health ministry said.

A family member said on Thursday than the man killed was working as a border policeman in the Hamas-run enclave. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford said the 22 year-old was a member of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.

Israel said one of its aircraft targeted a group launching balloons carrying firebombs over the border fence to burn Israeli farmland.

Israel’s fire service says hundreds of fires have burned about 3,000 hectares, causing damage amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wednesday, July 18

No more gas and fuel deliveries, fishing zone restricted even more

On Wednesday, Israel tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing.

The Kerem Shalom crossing, known to Palestinians as Karem Abu Salem, was shut down on July 9.

Initially, only items deemed as “humanitarian” were to be allowed to enter Gaza, such as food, hygiene and medical supplies, fuel, animal feed and livestock.

However, the defence ministry announced late on Monday that fuel and gas deliveries would also be suspended, and that the crossing would remain open only for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis.

Furthermore, the fishing zone, enforced by Israel, in the waters off the Gaza Strip would also be reduced from six nautical miles to three – after it was already reduced last week from 12 nautical miles.

The UN and Gisha, the Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, called Israel’s latest measure an act of “collective punishment”.

Saturday, July 14

Air raids by Israeli air force kill two teenage Palestinians

Two teenagers in the Gaza Strip were killed by Israeli air raids on Saturday, according to Palestinian health officials, as Israel carried out the largest daylight attack on the besieged enclave since the 2014 war.

Amir al-Nimra, 15, and Luay Kaheel, 16, died of their wounds on Saturday shortly after an air strike targeted al-Kateeba, an area in western Gaza, the health ministry said.

Twelve others were wounded by the attack.

The al-Kateeba square is adjacent to a park frequently visited by families over the weekend, especially during the summer months

Monday, July 9

Hamas condemns Israel’s plan to close border crossing

Hamas has condemned an Israeli decision to seal off the Karam Abu Salem commercial border crossing, the primary passageway that transfers necessities to residents of the besieged Gaza Strip.

The group, which governs the enclave, described Monday’s measure as a “crime against the people of Gaza”, blaming the international community’s prolonged silence that encourages Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

Earlier on Monday, Israel said it will be closing off the Karam Abu Salem border crossing, saying it was in retaliation over Palestinians setting fire to Israeli land.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision to shut down the border was taken in coordination with the country’s defence minister.

The move, which will come into effect on Tuesday, will only allow for the transfer of humanitarian needs such as cooking gas as well as wheat and flour into Gaza, an official responsible for coordinating the movement of cargo through the border confirmed to Al Jazeera from Gaza.

Saturday, July 7

Two Palestinians killed

Health officials in Gaza said two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations. Hundreds of other protesters were also wounded.

The victims included 11-year-old Yasser Abu al-Naja who died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head east of Khan Younis, Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said.

Mohammad Fawzi Hamaydeh, 24, was also pronounced dead shortly after being shot by Israeli live fire in the abdomen and foot, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Among the 415 wounded at Friday’s demonstration, 11 were children. Three of the injured cases were severe.

Friday, June 29

One Palestinian killed, nearly 400 injured

Hundreds of mourners marched in Gaza on Saturday at the funeral of a Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces on the 15th consecutive Friday of the Great March of Return.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said that 22-year-old Mohammad Jamal Abu Halima was killed after being shot in the chest.

He added that 396 others were wounded.

Among them, 13 were children. Fifty-seven were injured from live ammunition. 

Friday, June 14

Palestinian man succumbs to wounds

Ahmed Ziad al-Assi, 21, died on Thursday morning east of the Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli forces on June 8, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israeli forces shot al-Assi in the head during the 11th Friday of the Great March of Return protests.

His death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 129.

Friday, June 8

UN to hold emergency meeting 

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to vote on an Arab-backed resolution on Gaza, the body’s president Miroslav Lajcak has announced.

The resolution will  condemn Israel, and will be similar to one vetoed by the United States in the Security Council last week, which called for protecting Palestinians from Israeli aggression, according to diplomats.

There are no vetoes in the 193-member world body, but while Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not.

Four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces

Health officials in the Gaza Strip say the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during protests near the fence with Israel has risen to four.  

Yousef al-Fasih, 29, was shot dead while demonstrating in the eastern Gaza Strip, Palestinian news agency Wafa said. 

More than 600 people were wounded by Israeli forces, including photographer Mohammed Abed al-Baba, who was shot in the leg.

Al-Baba, who has worked for AFP news agency in the Gaza Strip since 2000, was shot while clearly identified in a press vest and helmet, around 200 metres from the fence east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.

Teargas drones

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from the protests in the Gaza Strip, says Israeli forces are firing teargas at protesters.

“They are using this in two ways, firstly coming in from jeeps … to try and disperse the [crowd], [and] they are also using teargas drones,” he said. 

“However, the Palestinians have figured out a way of dealing with these drones … they’ve figured out that they can entangle a drone into kites, and they have managed to bring down an Israeli drone,” he added.

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces

Health officials in the Gaza Strip say Israeli forces have killed at least three Palestinians and injured more than 500 during protests near the fence with Israel.

Israeli troops shot and killed 15-year-old Haitham al-Jamal east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian news agency Wafa said, citing the health ministry.

Ziad Jadallah Bureim was also shot dead while participating in protests in the southern Gaza Strip, while Imad Nabil Abu Darabi, 26, was killed east of Jabalia town in northern Gaza Strip, Wafa added.

Of those injured, 92 protesters sustained live fire wounds, including seven who are critically wounded. Twenty-six children and 14 women are among the wounded.

The remaining injuries were caused by teargas inhalation.

Hundreds injured in Gaza 

Gaza’s health ministry says at least 386 Palestinian protesters near the fence with Israel have been wounded by Israeli forces.

The ministry says five of the wounded were in serious condition.

In pictures: burning kites, teargas near border

Teargas fired by Israeli troops at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest marking Jerusalem Day [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]


A Palestinian demonstrator uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]
A fire burns in scrubland in Israel near the Gaza Strip; Palestinians have been flying kites and balloons loaded with flammable material across the border between Israel and Gaza [Amir Cohen/Reuters]
A wounded Palestinian demonstrator being evacuated [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]


Crowds gathering near border 

People are gathering near the border with Israel, defying warnings from the Israeli army. 

Reporting from the border, Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan said: “today is Jerusalem day, created by Iranians after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and that’s why people are arriving earlier than they normally would on a Friday to protest at the border”. 

Protest organisers have urged people to stay away from the buffer zone to avoid casualties, Khan said.

“If you’re a member of Islamic Jihad or Hamas, you’re probably likely to listen to the protest organisers and not go towards the buffer zone. 

“However if you’re just one of these little kids who are flying kites, throwing rocks, you don’t have to listen to anybody.

“That’s a real fear for many people here, that they won’t listen to those instructions not to go near the border, and that’s why there may well be casualties,” Khan said. 

Israel warns people in Gaza to avoid border

The Israeli army has warned people in Gaza not to come close to the border with Israel during Friday’s protests, a day when a big turnout is expected.

In a series of tweets issued on Thursday, the Israeli army said they had dropped leaflets in Gaza warning people from approaching the security fence. 

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the leaflets urged people in Gaza “not to let Hamas turn you into a tool to serve its narrow interests”. 

“We urge you not to take part in demonstrations and anarch and not to put yourself in danger,” the leaflets reportedly said.  

June 3

Palestinian man succumbs to wounds 

Mohammed Naaim Hamada, 30, died on Sunday morning east of the Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli forces on May 14, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israeli forces shot Hamada during the Great March of Return protests that coincided with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, and a day before Palestinians marked 70 years since the Nakba, or Catastrophe.

Hamada’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 121.

Friday, June 1

Palestinian paramedic killed

Razan al-Najjar was killed by Israeli live fire during the protests east of Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials.

The 21-year-old volunteer paramedic died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the Palestinian health ministry said.

A witness said she was shot while running towards the fortified fence to help a casualty.

Wearing a white uniform, “she raised her hands high in a clear way, but Israeli soldiers fired, and she was hit in the chest”, the witness told Reuters news agency. 

Palestinian medical sources say more than 100 other protesters were wounded, 40 of them with live fire.

Read more about the struggle of medical workers to provide healthcare amid shootings by Israeli forces here.

Razan al-Najjar (R) reacting to tear gas during an April 1 rally in the southern Gaza Strip [File: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

Protesters met with live fire, tear gas

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from the rally in Gaza, said the demonstrations “showed no signs of ending”.

“These protesters have once again been met with live fire from Israeli forces and repeated, very heavy use of tear gas as well,” he said.

“But how long this is sustainable? It is still seen by many Palestinians here in Gaza as a way of venting their continued desperation with the worsening humanitarian situation.

“The real question though is when the political decision from Hamas will come to end these protests, if it does,” added Fawcett.

“A senior adviser to the Hamas leadership told Al Jazeera that it is a question of Israel lifting the siege and the blockade. At that point, this strategy of peaceful protests could perhaps change.”

US vows to veto UN resolution for protection of Palestinians

The US will “unquestionably veto” a UN draft resolution which calls for “the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley called the Kuwait-sponsored resolution “grossly one-sided” and “morally bankrupt”. 

“The resolution calls on Israel to immediately cease its actions in self-defense, but makes no mention of Hamas’ aggressive actions against Israeli security forces and civilians,” she said in a statement.  

The draft resolution “deplores” and calls for a halt to “the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” by the Israeli military. It also “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian areas”. 

It asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a report on a potential “international protection mechanism”.

A vote on the draft resolution is expected to take place on Friday. 

Saturday, May 19

Two Palestinians succumb to wounds

Mouin Abdelhamid al-Saai, a 58-year-old man, died in Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital on Saturday, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

Israeli forces shot al-Saai on Monday as they fired live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs at protesters during demonstrations that coincided with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

The protests also came a day before Palestinians marked 70 years since the Nakba, or Catastrophe, the day on which the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, in a violent ethnic cleansing campaign.

Mohammed Mazin Alian, a 20-year-old man, also succumbed to his wounds on Saturday after he was shot by Israeli forces on Monday east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

This brings the total number of Palestinians killed since Monday in Gaza to 64.

Thursday, May 17

Israel targets ‘Hamas positions’ in overnight air raids

The Israeli army has said it launched overnight air raids on Hamas “infrastructure in military compounds” and “weapons production” facilities in the north of the besieged enclave of Gaza. 

The army alleged the “strikes were conducted in response to the heavy machine gun fire that targeted the city of Sderot” in the south. 

While Hamas has not officially responded to the attacks, a security official from the movement told Anadolu Agency that several of its positions had been targeted. 

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said no one had been injured in the attacks. 

Palestinians withdraw envoy to US

The Palestinian envoy to Washington has been recalled to Ramallah in protest over the US relocating its embassy to Jerusalem.

Husam Zomlot was instructed to return by President Mahmoud Abbas, the foreign ministry announced in a statement. 

It did not say how long Zomlot would be at headquarters.

Riad al-Malki, the foreign minister, said: “When they [the US] opened their embassy in Jerusalem there was a need for a decision from our side and this was our decision.”

Clashes and arrests near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate

Israeli border police forces and Palestinian protesters clashed near Jerusalem‘s Damascus Gate.

Many protesters were removed from the plaza, and others were arrested in the nearby area.

Demonstrators had gathered at the square outside the gate as part of Nakba Day protests.

“The Palestinians have been living here, I was born here, my father, my grandfather, my great great grandfather, I have no other place to go, I don’t even have a passport to go anywhere else,” said Mujid Keluti, a Jerusalem resident.

Protesters gathered outside the Damascus Gate as part of Nakba day protests [Ammar Awad/Reuters]


Netanyahu, Erdogan in Twitter spat as Israel, Turkey expel envoys

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged heated words on Twitter over Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu, in a Twitter post, said Erdogan “well understands terrorism and slaughter” because of his support for Hamas, a day after the Turkish leader accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide”.

Erdogan tweeted back that Netanyahu was the leader of “an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60 years in violation of UN resolutions”, adding that he was criticising Turkey to deflect attention.

“Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments”.

The row came as the two countries expelled each other’s senior diplomats.

Earlier in the day, Turkey told Israel’s ambassador to temporarily leave the country, prompting Israel to order the Turkish consul in Jerusalem to leave for an unspecified period, according to the Israeli foreign ministry.

The dispute appears to mark the worst diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers since Israeli marines stormed an aid ship to enforce a naval blockade of Gaza in 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists and prompting a downgrade in diplomatic ties that lasted until 2016.

Hamas leader vows to keep demanding right of return

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or the Catastrophe, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya visited protesters east of Gaza City, vowing to continue weeks of protests along Israel’s border.

“Our message today is the Return March and siege-breaking is going on and that the massacre the Israeli occupation committed against our revolting and returning youths will only increase our steadfastness, determination and sticking to the right of return,” said Haniyeh.

“We are coming to tell the whole world: no to the deal of the century and no to the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and Jerusalem is our eternal capital, the capital of the Palestinian state and Jerusalem’s identity will not be changed by a resolution from Trump nor Netanyahu.”

Second Palestinian killed by Israeli fire

A second Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced, a day after the Israeli army killed 60 people – the highest death toll in years. 

The ministry said the man, who was not named, was killed east of Bureij in central Gaza.

Tuesday’s protests were far smaller than the previous day’s.

A second Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire on Tuesday [Adel Hana/AP]


Palestinian right of return ‘means Israel’s destruction’

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, has described the longstanding Palestinian demand for the right of return of refugees who fled their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war as a call to destroy Israel.

“Let me be very clear,” Danon told an emergency session of the UN Security Council. “When the Palestinians say right of return, they mean destruction of Israel.”

He also accused Hamas of using a strategy of “orchestrated riots” and “planned casualties” to seek international sympathy.

Hamas activists were using civilians as human shields in the ongoing protests along Gaza’s border with Israel, in an attempt to breach the fence and stage attacks on Israel, he added. 

Palestinian envoy lambasts UN failure to act over Gaza unrest

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations, accused Israel of committing “war crimes” against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and slammed what he said was the UN Security Council’s failure to hold Israel accountable.

“For the past eight weeks, we have begged you to prevent another massacre by Israel, the occupier,” he told an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

“Is it possible that you did not hear our calls? Is it possible that you did not take our warnings seriously?”

Calling for a transparent and investigation into the killings along the Israel-Gaza border, he said:  “Let us investigate what is happening on the ground. We will accept the outcome of such an investigation.”

Arab League calls on ICC to investigate ‘Israeli crimes’

The Arab League’s Permanent Committee on Human Rights called on the International Criminal Court prosecutor to urgently investigate “the crimes of the Israeli occupation” against Palestinians.

“Israel is an oppressive and murderous entity, and its politicians and officers must be taken to the International Criminal Court,” Amjad Shamout, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit condemned the “massacres” of Palestinians, which he said resemble “war crimes”.

In a statement, he called on the international community to “protect the Palestinian people, who have chosen the path of peaceful struggle and have been confronted with brutality, violence and murder”.

ICC prosecutor vows to ‘take any action warranted’ over Gaza unrest

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza, and would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes.

“My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within” the tribunal’s jurisdiction, she warned in a statement to AFP news agency. 

“The violence must stop,” she added.

US ambassador says Israel acted with ‘restraint’

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tells the Security Council, “no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has”.

She said Hamas had been documented by news media as inciting Palestinians to storm the Gaza border.

“The Hamas terrorist organisation has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” says Haley.

“This is how determined they are to make the lives of the Palestinian people miserable … Make no mistake. Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”

UN Middle East Envoy urges quick action to ‘prevent war’

Nikolay Mladenov, UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has called on the international community to act quickly and effectively to end the “senseless violence” in the Gaza Strip.

“For it to end, it needs every one of us to put in their best effort into preventing an explosion that can drag the whole region into another deadly confrontation,” he told an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

“The international community must step in and prevent war”, he said.

He called on Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint and to avoid any further escalation, while also urging Israel to investigate any incident that led to the loss of lives.

Belgium summons Israeli envoy, calls for Gaza inquiry

Belgium demanded a UN inquiry into the violence in Gaza and summoned Israel’s ambassador to the foreign ministry after she described all the Palestinian victims as “terrorists”.

Belgium’s foreign ministry said it summoned ambassador Simona Frankel over her remarks while Prime Minister Charles Michel said: “We call for an international inquiry led by the United Nations.”

France says Middle East is ‘explosive’, ‘war could loom’

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the situation in the Middle East as “explosive” and criticised the United States for unilateral acts in the region.

“The situation in the Middle East is explosive, violence is doing the talking, war could loom,” he told lawmakers in parliament.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian near Gaza border

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian near the Gaza border on Tuesday, local health officials said.

The 51-year-old man was fatally shot along the frontier in the central Gaza Strip after thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals for Monday’s dead.

Palestinian protesters turned out in smaller numbers than on Monday, when dozens were killed by Israeli gunfire.

UN Security Council debates Israel’s Gaza killings

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session in New York to discuss violence along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The meeting began with a minute of silence for the more than 60 people who were killed in Monday’s protests.  

Speaking before the meeting, Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, accused Hamas of attempting to breach the border fence by organising violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border and defended Israel’s right to security. 

He also accused Hamas of committing ‘war crimes’ against Palestinian and Israeli civilians. 

Turkey expels Israeli ambassador for ‘some time’

Turkey’s official news agency says the country has asked Israel’s ambassador to temporarily leave Turkey.

Anadolu news agency said Tuesday the Turkish foreign ministry notified Eitan Na’eh, the Israeli ambassador that “it would be appropriate for him to return to his country for some time”. 

The ministry summoned the ambassador to protest Israel’s use of deadly force on Palestinians and the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy there to contested Jerusalem.

Turkey has also called home its ambassadors to Washington and Tel Aviv for consultations.

National mourning 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on residents across the occupied West Bank to hold a general strike on Tuesday in honour of those killed in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Schools, universities, banks, and private and public businesses are closed as part of the strike, which comes as Palestinians commemorate 70 years since the Nakba – or the “catastrophe” – when the state of Israel was created, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their towns and villages.

Baby dies of tear gas inhalation east of the Gaza Strip

Laila Anwar al-Ghandour, an eight-month-old baby, died of tear gas inhalation at dawn on Tuesday, according to Gaza’s ministry of health.

On Tuesday morning, 30-year-old Omar Jumaa Abu Foul succumbed to his wounds from Monday’s protests, raising the death toll to 60. 

[Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Hamda] 

Britain, Germany, back independent probe into Gaza killings

The United Kingdom on Tuesday called for an independent investigation into the violence at the Gaza border with Israel after the United States blocked a United Nations Security Council statement calling for a probe.

Germany also announced its support for an independent inquiry into the deadly violence. 

“It is our view that an independent investigation commission can clarify the violent incidents and the bloody violations at the border area,” said government spokesman Steffan Seibert.

Monday, May 14:  

At least 58 Palestinians were killed on Monday in Gaza and more than 2,700 others wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs at protesters assembled along several points near the fence with Israel.

The demonstrations coincided with protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Erdogan accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ over Gaza deaths

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide”, according to state-run Anadolu agency, as Ankara announced three days of national mourning over the killing of scores of Palestinians in Gaza.

“Israel is wreaking state terror. Israel is a terror state,” Erdogan told Turkish students during a visit in Britain’s capital, London.

“What Israel has done is a genocide. I condemn this humanitarian drama, the genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America,” he added.

Thousands had earlier marched through central Istanbul to denounce the bloodshed as the US moved its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in defiance of widespread outrage in the Islamic world.  

Thousands of Turks march through central Istanbul to denounce the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem [Faisal Edroos/Al Jazeera] 

US blames Hamas for Gaza violence

White House spokesman Raj Shah has accused Hamas’ leaders of making a “gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt” after the killing of at least 55 Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.

Speaking to reporters at a White House briefing, Shah also declined to join with other countries – including France and Britain – in calling for Israel to exercise restraint in its response to the demonstrations.

The White House instead reiterated the Trump administration’s refrain that Israel had a right to defend itself.

“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” Shah said. “Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response.”

Turkey recalls ambassadors to Tel Aviv, Washington

Ankara has recalled its ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Washington for consultations, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag.

Turkey also called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this week, said Bozdag, hoping it will be held on Friday.

Ankara: US shares blame for ‘Gaza massacre’

Turkey has accused the United States of sharing responsibility with Israel for a “vile massacre” along the Gaza border.

“The United States, unfortunately, took its place without complaint alongside the Israeli government in this massacre of civilians and became a party to this crime against humanity,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara.

“This is a vile massacre, and we condemn it strongly,” he added.

Yildirim said the events were “incompatible” with the US acting as a mediator or protector of world peace.

UN HR High Commissioner: ‘Israeli live fire in Gaza must stop’

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, says Israeli live fire killing dozens and wounding hundreds in Gaza must stop immediately.

He also calls on the international community to bring those responsible to justice.

Death toll reaches 55

Palestinian health officials say 55 people have been killed and more than 2,770 others have been wounded so far.

This brings the total death toll since the beginning of the weeks-long protests to 104. 

Palestinian mourners gather around the body of a man who was killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border [AFP].

‘An incredible amount of live fire’

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaza City, describes witnessing “extraordinary scenes” at the protests along the fence with Israel.

“There was an incredible amount of live fire; it explains the high death toll and the more than 2,000 injured.

“There was tear gas raining down on people and people being shot at, people who were peacefully protesting at the border.”

At least 55 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 2770 have been injured [AFP].

Dekker says hospitals in the Gaza Strip have now reached “breaking point” as medical staff struggle to treat the thousands wounded during the demonstrations.

“Yes the boys, the young men, will tell you that they throw Molotov cocktails and rocks [at the Israeli forces], but they say that is their legitimate right in terms of a resistance to the Israeli occupation.”

“The factions here have all come together to issue a statement saying they all hold Israel responsible for the high death toll,” she added.

France condemns ‘violence in Gaza’ 

The French presidency has condemned “the violence” in Gaza after the killing of 52 Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.

President Emmanuel Macron “will speak to all the actors in the region in the coming days”, his office said in a statement.

Kuwait requests emergency Security Council meeting

Kuwait has requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, according to the country’s mission to the world body.

“We condemned what has happened,” Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told journalists.

Kuwait is a non-permanent council member.

Netanyahu responds to criticisms over Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded on Twitter to criticism over the Israeli army’s conduct in Gaza, saying it acted in self-defence by firing at protesters. 

“The Hamas terrorist organisation declares it intends to destroy Israel and send thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal,” Netanyahu wrote.

“We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens.”

South Africa recalls ambassador to Israel

The South African government has condemned the actions of the Israeli armed forces near the fortified fence in Gaza.

In a statement released on Monday, the Department of International Relations (Dirco) says: “The latest attack has resulted in scores of other Palestinian citizens reported injured, and the wanton destruction of property.”

“Given the indiscriminate and gravity of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice.”

Israeli drone targets journalists

An Israeli drone with a tear gas canister has targeted a group of journalists in Gaza , including an Al Jazeera TV crew.

Al Jazeera correspondent Hoda Abdel-Hamid was standing in a media row with several other reporters when she was hit by the tear gas canister. 

Abdel-Hamid has been sent to hospital to be treated for the after-effects of the tear gas.

Palestinian President Abbas condemns Israeli actions

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the events in Gaza as “one of the most ferocious days” during a press conference.

He also told a press conference that the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem was an assault on the sovereignty of the Palestinian people.

“On this day, the Israeli massacres against our people continue in the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank. Today is one of the most ferocious days that our people have witnessed,” said Abbas.

“As we speak, about 52 Palestinians have been killed, a number which is likely to increase. This is an indication of the level of Israeli brutality.”

Abbas addresses the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah [AFP]

“Today Israel is celebrating the opening of the US embassy. They allege that the occupied land of Jerusalem is the land of their forefathers. That is a falsification of history.

“Palestinians have been living continuously on this land. Our people will not give up their peaceful demonstrations until we reach victory with Jerusalem as our capital.

“By this move [of the embassy] the US has excluded itself from the peace process in the Middle East. It can no longer act as mediator, and its role will no longer be valid.”

Call for emergency Security Council meeting

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s UN ambassador, has condemned Israeli strikes on unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. 

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Mansour described Washington’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem as “very tragic”.

“We will use all of our available rights in the security council to see it shouldering its responsibility to condemn this massacre and bring those responsible to justice,” said Mansour. 

“Very tragic that they (America) are celebrating illegal action while Israel is injuring and killing thousands of Palestinians.

“Tragic day for Palestinians and shame on those who ignore the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.”

Appeal for blood donations

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has put out a call on Twitter for people in Gaza to head to donation centres to donate their blood. 

There has been an increasing need for blood as 52 Palestinians have been killed and 2,400 others injured by Israeli forces across Gaza so far. 

Death toll reaches 52

Palestinian health officials say 52 people have been killed and 2,400 others have been wounded so far.

Of those killed, the Ministry of Health says at least six are below 18, including one female. Of those wounded, at least 200 are below the age of 18; seventy-eight are women, and 11 are journalists, including Al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh.

Palestinians wave their national flag as they demonstrate near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia [AFP]

Names of those killed 

Here is the list of some of the Palestinians killed as of Monday afternoon according to the Gaza Ministry of Health:

1. Ezz el-din Musa Mohamed Alsamaak, 14 years old

2.Wisaal Fadl Ezzat Alsheikh Khalil, 15 years old

3.Ahmed Adel Musa Alshaer, 16 years old

4. Saeed Mohamed Abu Alkheir, 16 years old

5. Ibrahim Ahmed Alzarqa, 18 years old

6. Eman Ali Sadiq Alsheikh, 19 years old

7. Zayid Mohamed Hasan Omar, 19 years old

8. Motassem Fawzy Abu Louley, 20 years old

9. Anas Hamdan Salim Qadeeh, 21 years old

10. Mohamed Abd Alsalam Harz, 21 years old

11. Yehia Ismail Rajab Aldaqoor, 22 years old

12. Mustafa Mohamed Samir Mahmoud Almasry, 22 years old

13. Ezz Eldeen Nahid Aloyutey, 23 years old

14. Mahmoud Mustafa Ahmed Assaf, 23 years old

15. Ahmed Fayez Harb Shahadah, 23 years old

16. Ahmed Awad Allah, 24 years old

17. Khalil Ismail Khalil Mansor, 25 years old

18. Mohamed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26 years old

19. Bilal Ahmed Abu Diqah, 26 years old

20. Ahmed Majed Qaasim Ata Allah, 27 years old

21. Mahmoud Rabah Abu Maamar, 28 years old

22.Musab Yousef Abu Leilah, 28 years old

23. Ahmed Fawzy Altetr, 28 years old

24. Mohamed Abdelrahman Meqdad, 28 years old

25. Obaidah Salim Farhan, 30 years old

26. Jihad Mufid Al-Farra, 30 years old

27. Fadi Hassan Abu Salmi, 30 years old

28. Motaz Bassam Kamil Al-Nunu, 31 years old

29. Mohammed Riyad Abdulrahman Alamudi, 31 years old

30. Jihad Mohammed Othman Mousa, 31 years old

31. Shahir Mahmoud Mohammed Almadhoon, 32 years old

32. Mousa Jabr Abdulsalam Abu Hasnayn, 35 years old

33. Mohammed Mahmoud Abdulmoti Abdal’al, 39 years old

34. Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Hamdan, 27 years old

35. Ismail Khalil Ramadhan Aldaahuk, 30 years old

36. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Alrantisi, 27 years old

37. Alaa Alnoor Ahmed Alkhatib, 28 years old

38. Mahmoud Yahya Abdawahab Hussain, 24 years old

39. Ahmed Abdullah Aladini, 30 years old

40. Saadi Said Fahmi Abu Salah, 16 years old

41. Ahmed Zahir Hamid Alshawa, 24 years old

42. Mohammed Hani Hosni Alnajjar, 33 years old

43. Fadl Mohamed Ata Habshy, 34 years old

Palestinian mourners carry the body of a man killed during clashes with Israeli forces, on May 14, 2018, in Gaza City [AFP]

Britain urges ‘calm and restraint’ in Gaza

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman urged “calm and restraint” in the Gaza Strip ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt also expressed concern that peaceful protests were being exploited by extremist elements while adding: “(I) urge restraint in use of live fire.”

The prime minister’s spokesman said: “We are concerned by the reports of violence and loss of life in Gaza. We urge calm and restraint to avoid actions destructive to peace efforts.

“The prime minister had made her views clear in December that we disagreed with the decision (to move the US embassy). We believe it’s unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”

The spokesman also reiterated Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians with Jerusalem as the shared capital.

Death toll reaches 43

Palestinian health officials say 43 people have been killed and 1,960 others have been wounded so far.

Of those killed, the Ministry of Health says at least six are below 18, including one female. Of those wounded, at least 200 are below the age of 18; seventy-eight are women, and 11 are journalists. 

According to the ministry, some 918 people were shot at with live ammunition. 

At least 39 are in critical condition, and there are fears that the death toll could rise.

“The hospital smells like blood, there is blood everywhere,” local journalist Maram Humaid told Al Jazeera from the Indonesia Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. 

“Those wounded are lying on the floor – there are no more beds to accommodate them. The hospitals are overflowing,” Humaid added. 

“There is a state of anxiety in the hospitals. Ambulances have not stopped arriving. The refrigerators are filling up with bodies and hundreds of people are crowded near them, distressed by the news of the killing of their loved ones.”

Egypt and Jordan condemn Israeli action

Egypt and Jordan have condemned Israeli action in the Gaza Strip, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire at the border.      

Jordan’s government spokesman, Mohammed al-Momani, condemned Israel’s use of “excessive force against the defenceless Palestinian people” and described the violence as a “crime”.    

Egypt meanwhile “expressed its strong condemnation for the targeting of unarmed Palestinian civilians by the Israeli occupation forces”, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab states with formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and Jordan followed in 1994.

Palestinians in Gaza prepare to cross fence with Israel 

Organisers of the Great March of Return say they are expecting as many as one million people to join the demonstration and attempt to cross the fence with Israel at various points along the border. 

A leaflet circulated by the organisers reads: “The national committee for the Great March of Return invites you to participate in the peaceful popular protest, the Million Man March of Return and Breaking the Siege”. 

A spokesperson for the Great March of Return, Ahmad Abu Artema, told Al Jazeera that the goal of trying to cross the fence is to “send a message the Palestinian people have not and will not adapt to 70 years of being refugees, estrangement and difficult conditions.”

“We are adamant to return, no matter what happens. This is what the people of Gaza want – it’s about popular will. And this is their right.” 

The Right of Return is enshrined in United Nations Resolution 194. 

Israeli officials have accused Hamas of being behind the protests, saying the movement exploits Palestinians and deliberately exposes them to danger near the border fence.

The organisers behind the Great March of Return have rejected these claims.

Early on Monday, the Israeli military, which has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to stay away from the border. 

Saturday, May 12

Palestinian teen succumbs to wounds

Jamal Afanah, a 15-year-old boy, died on Saturday in the southern Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli security forces the day before, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israeli forces shot Afanah on Friday during protests which took place for the seventh Friday in a row as part of the Great March of Return movement.

Afanah’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 49.

Egypt to open Rafah border crossing

The Palestinian embassy in Cairo announced that Egypt would open the Rafah border crossing for four days and would allow movement in both directions.

The opening is meant to attend to humanitarian cases, as well as to those whose names are registered waiting to leave the Gaza Strip. 

Hundreds mourn death of Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa

Hundreds of Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip attended the funeral of 40-year-old Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, who was shot by Israeli forces. 

Mustafa was shot in the chest near the Israeli border, east of Khan Younis, on Friday, May 11.

Friday, May 11

Palestinian killed, more than 100 wounded 

Israeli forces have shot dead a 40-year-old man, Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, east of Khan Younis, according to Palestinian health officials. 

Abu Mustafa died when he was shot in the chest with live ammunition. 

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said 167 other people had been wounded by live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets. 

One journalist was among those injured. He sustained an injury in his foot east of Khan Younis. 

Al-Qidra said medical staff are conducting therapeutic treatment for dozens wounded by Israeli forces, including women and children.

Preparations under way for Nakba protest

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the Gaza-Israel border, said young people have been arriving at the protests with tyres to be burned to reduce their visibility to Israeli forces positioned with snipers on the other side of the fence.

“We’ve already seen one youth injured this morning, hit by live fire. He was very close to the fence, taken away in an ambulance,” Dekker said.

“What people here will tell you is that there is a lot of pressure. It has resulted in a lot of pressure on Israel.

“We’re understanding from sources that there are talks under the table to prevent the Nakba protest from happening. Why? Because hundreds of thousands of people are expected to show up – not just at this point but all along the border with Israel.”

Dekker explained that there might be fewer demonstrators attending this Friday’s protests compared with previous weeks because Palestinians are preparing for far bigger protests in the days to come.

Israelis march in support of Palestinians in Gaza

Around noon, some 50 Israelis began marching towards the Gaza border protesting against the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army’s use of lethal force against unarmed Palestinian protesters.

Friday, May 4

Dozens of Palestinians wounded in Gaza border protest

Israeli forces have fired tear gas and live rounds at Palestinian protesters on the Gaza-Israel border, wounding at least 40 people.

At least 13 people were wounded by live fire, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from the Gaza-Israel border, said there were no reports of deaths and that the number of people injured on Friday marked “a substantial decrease” as compared to previous weeks. 

But that figure could rise, he said, adding: “We have heard live fire being used on several occasions today. There has been a lot of tear gas, a lot of warnings coming from the Israeli side.”

Protesters burned tyres at the site sending black smoke billowing into the air. 

Palestinians with their faces painted like characters from the movie ‘Avatar’ pose for a picture at the Israel-Gaza border [Said Khatib/AFP]

Naming the dead

These are the 56 Palestinians that have been killed by Israel since the start of the protests:

  1. Mohammed Naeem Abu Amr, 27, died on March 30
  2. Amin Mansour Abu Muammar, 22, died on March 30
  3. Mohammed Najjar 25, died on March 30
  4. Ahmed Odeh, 19, died on March 30
  5. Mahmoud Saadi Rahmi, 33, died on March 30
  6. Abdelfattah Abdelnabi, 19, died on March 30
  7. Jihad Freneh, 33, died on March 30
  8. Sari Abu Odeh, 30, died on March 30 
  9. Ibrahim Abu Shaar, 22, died on March 30
  10. Abdelqader Al-Hawajri, 42, died on March 30
  11. Jihad Abu Jamous, 30, died on March 30
  12. Bader al-Sabbagh, 22, died on March 30
  13. Naji Abu Hujeir, 25, died on March 30
  14. Hamdan Abu Amsha, 26, died on March 30
  15. Ahmed Omar Arafeh, 25, died on March 30
  16. Omar Wahid Samour, 28, died on March 30
  17. Mosab al-Saloul, 22, died on March 30 
  18. Fares al-Raqab, 29, succumbed to his wounds on April 2 from injuries sustained on March 30
  19. Shadi Hamdan al-Kashif, 34, Rafah, succumbed to his wounds on April 5 from injuries sustained on March 30
  20. Thaer Mohammed Rabea, 30, succumbed to his wounds on April 6 from injuries sustained on March 30
  21. Ahmed Nizar Muhareb, 29, died on April 6
  22. Usama Khamis Qudeih, 38, died on April 6
  23. Majdi Ramadan Shabat, 38, died on April 6
  24. Hussein Mohammed Madi, 16, died on April 6
  25. Ibrahim Al-Err, 20, died on April 6
  26. Mohammed Saeed Saleh, 33, died on April 6
  27. Alaa Zamli, 17, died on April 6
  28. Sedqi Faraj Abu Atewi, 45, died on April 6
  29. Alaa Eddine Yahya Al-Zamli, 15, died on April 6
  30. Hamza Abdel Al-Aal, died on April 6
  31. Yaser Murtaja, 30, succumbed to his wounds on April 7 from injuries sustained on April 6
  32. Marwan Awdeh Qadeih, 45, died on April 9
  33. Mohammed Abu Hajeela, 31, died on April 12
  34. Abdallah Al-Shahri, 28, died on April 14
  35. Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, died on April 20
  36. Ahmed Rashad, 24, died on April 20
  37. Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, 15, died on April 20
  38. Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29, died on April 20
  39. Ahmad Abu Hussein, 24, succumbed to his wounds on April 25 from injuries sustained on April 13
  40. Khalil Atallah, 22, died on April 27
  41. Muhammad Amin al-Muqid, 21, died on April 27
  42. Abd al-Salam Eid Zuhdi Baker, 33, died on April 27
  43. Azzam Oweida, 15, died on April 27
  44. Anas Abu Asser, 19 years old, succumbed to his wounds on May 3 from injuries sustained on April 27
  45. Yousif Abu Jazar, 16, died on April 29 
  46. Attiyah Muhammad al-Amawi, 23, died on April 29 
  47. Yousif Ahmad al-Amawi, 23, died on April 29 
  48. Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, 40, died on May 11
  49. Jamal Afanah, 15, died on May 12
  50. Anas Hamdan Qdeih, 21, died on May 14 
  51. Musab Abu Laila, 29, died on May 14 
  52. Bilal Abu Daqqa, 26, died on May 14 
  53. Ezz al-Din al-Owaiti, 22, died on May 14 
  54. Ezz al-Din al-Sammak, 14, died on May 14 
  55. Obaida Salem Farhan, died on May 14
  56. Mohammad Abu Sitta, 26, died on May 14

Sunday, April 29

3 Palestinians killed at Gaza border

In two separate incidents, Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians at the Gaza-Israel border fence late Sunday evening. The spokesperson for the Israeli army confirmed the deaths on Twitter and added that another Palestinian had been detained.

Saturday, April 28

Hundreds mourn death of Palestinian teenager shot on Friday

Azzam Oweida, a 15-year old boy, who was shot in the head by Israeli military on Friday has died of his wounds on Saturday. 

Hundreds in Khan Younis gathered to pay their last respects for Hillal on Saturday. 

Three other Palestinians were shot dead during Friday’s peaceful protests. 

Friday, April 27

Four Palestinians killed, 955 wounded

Four Palestinian demonstrators were killed and 955 injured by Israeli forces during the protests on Friday.

The health ministry identified the three men and child as Khalil Atallah, 22, Muhammad Amin al-Muqid, 21, Abd al-Salam Eid Zuhdi Baker, 33, and Azzam Oweida, 15.

“Thousands of people stood right at the border, then we heard Israeli forces opening live fire. They’re still doing that sporadically as we speak,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reported from the Israel-Gaza border.

“Ambulances are rushing towards that area… The scenes that we have witnessed here over the past half hour or so are the most dramatic.”

Eighteen medical personnel and journalists were among the wounded.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said Israeli forces targeted medical service points twice with an unidentified gas east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

A number of victims experienced convulsions as a result of their exposure, he said.

A female demonstrator is evacuated after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

Palestinian protesters run from tear gas launched by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]  

Palestinians shout slogans as they protested on Friday [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Dozens hurt in latest Gaza protest

At least 25 Palestinian protesters have reportedly been injured by live Israeli gunfire or have suffocated from tear gas inhalation, as demonstrations erupted for the fifth Friday in a row in Gaza, according to reports. 

The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that at least six Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters, while the rest were hurt because of teargas inhalation.

Hundreds of protesters have been gathering at the eastern and northern borders of the Gaza Strip on what they called the “Friday of Rebellious Youth”.

UN rights chief decries Israel’s excessive use of force in Gaza

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has condemned Israel’s use of “excessive force” against Palestinian protesters, saying its security forces must be held to account for the many deaths and injuries sustained by Palestinians in the past month.

The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” Zeid said.

In the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza, with no reports of Israeli casualties.

Friday, April 20

Four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces

Palestinian officials say the death toll on Friday has risen to four, with Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, a 15-year-old from Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, joining the growing list of fatalities.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry,  added that at least 729 Palestinians, including 45 children, had been wounded by Israeli forces.

The other three victims were identified as Ahmed Rashad, 24, Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, and Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29.

Yahya Sinwar makes rare public appearance at protest site

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near Gaza City.

Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd of protesters that they would “march on Jerusalem”.

Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, made another rare public appearance on Friday at a protest near Gaza city [Bernard Smith/Al Jazeera]
Palestinians raise their flag in front of burning tyres they lit near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]


Great March of Return spokesman: South Africa is our model

Asaad Abu Shariek, a spokesman for the Great March of Return protest movement, said demonstrators were following a path laid down by South Africa during its struggle against apartheid.

“People are very enthusiastic to come and take part in the protests because they know without participating in this non-violent form of resistance they can’t achieve their objective,” Abu Shariek told Al Jazeera.

When asked whether the protests would lead to any tangible concessions by the Israelis, Abu Shariek said: “We are implanting an idea in the minds of people across the world that Palestinians have rights and they hope for the right of return.

“We want the world to impose a military embargo on Israel and the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] strategy. South Africa used this method, and they emerged victorious, and I think we will be no exception.”

A man has his eyes cleaned after he was exposed to tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

‘Barrage of tear gas’ 

Reporting from the protest site, Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith said the thousands of Palestinians in attendance were being subjected to a “barrage of tear gas from Israeli soldiers”.

“Thick black smoke has now filled the air as they try to obscure the view for Israeli soldiers,” Smith said.

“This is a peaceful protest as it has been over the last few weeks.

“There will be more protests like this until May 15, the day the Palestinians call the Nakba that marked the founding of the state of Israel.”

Death toll reaches 37 Palestinians killed

Ahmed Rashad, 24, was pronounced dead by the Palestinian Ministry of Health after being hit by a live bullet fired by Israeli forces. This brings the death toll to 37 Palestinians since protests began on March 30.

Ahmed Abu Akil, 25, died in the hospital after being shot with a live bullet, according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

Palestinians fly kites over fence into Israel

Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border have sent kites over the fence into Israel, including some carrying notes telling Israelis: “There is no place for you in Palestine.”

Palestinians fly a kite with the words: ‘We will return despite the betrayers’ [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

40 Palestinian protesters wounded

At least 40 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli use of live fire and tear gas during protests along the Gaza-Israeli border, reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.  

Among the wounded is Ahmed Abu Akil from Jabaliya. He has been moved to the intensive care unit after being injured in the head by live bullets fired by the Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 

Another two Palestinians have also been reported injured in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces fired live bullets at protesters. 

Israel drops leaflets in Gaza: ‘Stay away from border fence’

Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh Palestinian protests along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

It was the first time leaflets have been dropped in the recent round of demonstrations. 

The Israeli army “is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” read the leaflets, which were scattered by Israeli aircraft along the border in the early morning.

Friday, April 13

Number of injured approaches 1,000: health ministry

The Palestinian Ministry of Health is reporting that a total of 969 people have been injured by Israeli forces

Palestinian killed in Gaza

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Islam Herzallah, 28, died after being shot by Israeli snipers in his stomach, east of Gaza.

The number of injuries has surpassed 701, it added.

Palestinian Ministry of Health: 528 wounded

Health officials in Gaza say at least 528 protesters have been wounded, including 16 journalists and medical professionals.

According to the ministry, at least 122 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition.

Palestinian Ministry of Health says 363 protesters wounded so far

Journalists are among the injured, with Ahmad Abu Hussein shot in the chest while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.

A bullet also grazed the arm of Middle East Eye’s photographer Mohammed al-Hajjar at the same location.

More than 100 protesters wounded, say health officials

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 112 protesters have been wounded by live bullets and tear gas along the Gaza Strip border.

Mobile clinic targeted near Khan Younis

Medics carry a wounded protester on a stretcher in Khuza’a, Khan Younis, on the third consecutive Friday protest near the Gaza Strip border [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera] 

The spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra had condemned Israeli forces targeting a mobile clinic east of Khan Younis with tear gas, resulting in the suffocation of 10 medical staff.

“Despite the direct targeting of our medical points, we are determined to continue providing treatment to our people under all circumstances,” he said.

The Ministry of Health also said that 30 protesters have been injured so far.

Three protesters injured

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said that three protesters east of Gaza City have already been wounded by Israeli forces.

“What we have seen over the past two Fridays is a great number of people shot by Israeli snipers,” he said, speaking near the encampment near Gaza City. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, more than 1,600 Palestinians were wounded last Friday.

Journalists undeterred by Israeli targeting

Last Friday, nine journalists who were covering the protests were hospitalised with serious leg injuries after Israeli forces shot at them.

One them, Izz Abu Shanab, is a freelance photographer and told Al Jazeera he was wearing a flak jacket marked with “PRESS” and a helmet.

“As I was working about 400 metres away from the border fence, the Israelis shot me with a live bullet in the leg,” Abu Shanab said. “It broke the bone because it was an explosive bullet.”

Another journalist, Jameel Dahlan, said that despite concern from family members, he will continue to cover the protests.

“We as journalists send a message,” he told Al Jazeera. “No matter what my wife or mother says, we love our work. Because of that we’ll keep coming here.”


‘Burn the Israeli flag’

Palestinians in Gaza burn the Israeli flag as part of the protest’s theme on the third consecutive Friday [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera] 

Amer Shreiteh, member of the Coordinating Committee for the Return March, told local Palestinian media that Friday’s protest theme has been dubbed as “Burn the Israeli flag and raise the Palestinian one”.

“A 25-metre flag mast has been built for each of the five encampments along the border,” he said. 

In a statement, the Committee confirmed its commitment to a peaceful, popular protest.

Friday, April 6

For a second week, thousands of Palestinians protested along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, as part of the Great March of Return movement.

Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians during the past week, including 21 during and after the March 30 protests, which wounded more than 1,600 others.

Eight Palestinians died last Friday, including one who succumbed to his wounds after being shot last week.

Two more died from their wounds the following day, including journalist Yaser Murtaja.

Local media: Eight killed by Israeli forces

The Palestinian Shehab News Agency is reporting that the death toll in Friday’s protests has risen to nine, after Alaa Yahya al-Zamali, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces in Rafah.

Yahya Sinwar: Gaza will ‘stand tall’ in the face of the occupation

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near the city of Khan Younis.

Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd that Gaza would “stand tall” in the face of Israeli occupation.

“The plot of starvation and siege have failed to incite the Palestinian people against the resistance [Hamas].

“Gaza will not starve and will not abandon its national objective.

“Our people came out to tell the world that Gaza is free and that we will stand tall and resist the Israeli occupation.”

A Palestinian protester wears a tyre on his head with an onion (to protect himself from tear gas) dangling from it [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

Local media: Six killed by Israeli forces

The Palestinian Safa Press Agency is reporting that the death toll has risen to eight, with Sidqi Abu Outewi, a 45-year-old from Nuseirat, and Mohammed Hajj Saleh, a 33-year-old from Rafah, joining the growing list of fatalities.

Fifth Palestinian killed, health ministry says

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says the death toll has risen to six, with 20-year-old Ibrahim Al-Ourr killed.

Palestinian Ministry of Health: 780 wounded

Health officials in Gaza said that at least 780 protesters have been wounded, including seven women and 31 children.

Fourth Palestinian killed, health ministry says

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that a 16-year-old boy has been killed by Israeli forces.

The teenager, Hussein Madi, was dead on arrival after he was taken to Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, the ministry added.

Journalist: 28 wounded protesters in intensive care unit

Hosam Salem, a photographer at the scene in the southern Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that there are currently 8 protesters in the intensive care unit at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

Salem witnessed his colleague Yaser Murtaja, a 30-year-old journalist with a local media outlet, drop to the ground after he was shot by Israeli forces in the stomach.

“Yaser was filming with his camera next to me when we heard the sound of gunfire,” Salem said. “He just fell on the ground and said, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot’.”

“He needed eight units of blood,” Salem continued. “The hospital moved him from the operations room to the ICU where his situation remains critical.”

Another journalist, Ibrahim Zanoun, was shot in the arm while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.

Health officials: Two killed, 250 injured

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says protester Majdi Ramadan Shbat has been killed east of Gaza City by Israeli forces.

The number of those wounded has risen to at least 250, according to the ministry.

Shbat’s death brings the total number of protesters killed on Friday to three, after Thaer Rab’a, who was shot by Israeli forces during the March 30 demonstrations, succumbed to his wounds earlier in the day.

Protesters ‘defiant’ amid growing tension

A Palestinian woman and man stand behind burning tyres in Khuza’a near the border in southern Gaza Strip [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera] 

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Gaza, says Palestinian protesters have remained “defiant” despite Israel saying it will not change its rule of engagement. 

“Some young boys have been carrying mirrors to blind the soldiers stationed all along the border,” she said. “We’ve seen them with makeshift homemade gas masks which won’t really protect them from anything. 

“Tension is growing because more and more people are arriving, but it seems that the Israelis are showing some degree of restraint compared to last week,” she continued. “They are still using live ammunition and high-velocity bullets which don’t kill but maim protesters.”

Palestinian killed in Gaza

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed that 38-year-old Osama Qdeih has been killed by Israeli live fire east of Khan Younis.

The number of wounded has increased to at least 150, the ministry added.

Ministry of Health: 40 wounded by live fire and tear gas

A medic stands over a wounded protester near Gaza Strip’s eastern border [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

Palestinian health officials say at least 40 protesters have been wounded.

According to Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry’s spokesperson, five are in critical condition after being shot in the head or in the upper body.

Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that the protests are the outcome of “years and years of frustration” by the residents of the Gaza Strip.

“If you look at the past 60 years there has always been delayed action from the Arab League and the international community [with regards to] the Palestinian question,” he said.

“That delay of action is an indication that there is no serious attempt to stop Israel from doing what it is doing now.”

UN warns Israeli forces to respect ‘right of peaceful assembly’

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell has expressed concern over further violence during Friday’s demonstrations and in the weeks ahead.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Throssell said: “We remind Israel of its obligations to ensure that excessive force is not employed against protesters and that in the context of a military occupation, as is the case in Gaza, the unjustified and unlawful recourse to firearms by law enforcement resulting in death may amount to a willful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Earlier, Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed the death of Thaer Rab’a, 30, who succumbed to his injuries after he was shot by Israeli forces last Friday.

This brings this week’s death toll to 22 Palestinians. 

Friday of ‘Burning Tyres’

Palestinians have gathered hundreds of spare tyres and plan on setting them on fire in order to create a smokescreen to obstruct the vision of Israeli snipers.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Hoda Abdel-Hamid, said that the situation is calm at the moment, despite five Palestinians so far being wounded by live ammunition

“[At the five encampments along the border] you have entire families with their children dressed in traditional Palestinian clothes,” she said. “They are having picnics, they are sitting on the floor, and there’s a lot of vendors on the side.

“It is a completely different atmosphere and that’s where the vast majority of people are.”

Hamas internal security called for peaceful protest

An elderly Palestinian man and his granddaughter sit during Friday prayers at at one of the encampments east of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera] 

On Thursday night, the internal security of Hamas released a statement calling on all protesters to “avoid friction with the Israeli occupation forces, and cooperate with the instructions of the organizers of the events.”

The statement also called on participants to avoid wearing distinctive clothes and to not take photos or use their mobile phones.

Organisers of the march

“The march is organised by refugees, doctors, lawyers, university students, Palestinian intellectuals, academics, civil society organizations and Palestinian families,” Asad Abu Sharekh, the spokesperson of the march, told Al Jazeera.

“Using these claims of Hamas being behind the protests, Israel is trying to sabotage the idea of the march to justify its escalation against protesters.”

Protests begin

The planned protests, which started on March 30, or Land Day, will continue until the Nakba anniversary on May 15, which marks 70 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns by Zionist militias in 1948.

Makeshift tents have been erected 700 metres away from the Israeli fence, symbolising the right of return for Palestinian refugees, who make up 70 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population of two million.

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