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Thousands gather for sit-in along Israel-Gaza border

Peaceful protests quickly spun out of control, bringing to four the number of people killed during a day of protests.
Updated Mar 31, 2018 03:30pm

Palestinian stone-throwers clashed on Friday with Israeli troops in several locations along the Israel-Gaza border fence, as mass sit-ins touted by Gaza's Hamas rulers as peaceful protests, quickly spun out of control.

Two Gazans were shot dead by Israeli forces in clashes, the Palestinian health ministry said, bringing to four the number of people killed during a day of border protests. Israeli troops fired live bullets and tear gas at Palestinians on the other side of the border fence. The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 15 people were wounded by army fire.

The sit-ins are seen as a new attempt by Hamas to break a crippling, decade-old Gaza border blockade by Israel and Egypt that has made it increasingly difficult for the group to govern. Friday's actions are to be the first in a series of protests planned in Gaza in the coming weeks. The activities are to culminate on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel's creation, with a march through the border fence.

Palestinians commemorate the date as the anniversary of their mass displacement and uprooting during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel's creation. The vast majority of Gaza residents are descendants of Palestinians who fled or were driven from communities in what is now Israel.

Hamas movement leader Yahya Sinwar shouts slogans as he takes part in a tent city protest near the border with Israel. ─AFP
Hamas movement leader Yahya Sinwar shouts slogans as he takes part in a tent city protest near the border with Israel. ─AFP

Palestinian fighters from the Fatah movement stand during a funerary procession for 27-year-old farmer Omar Samour, who was killed earlier in the day by Israeli tank fire. ─AFP
Palestinian fighters from the Fatah movement stand during a funerary procession for 27-year-old farmer Omar Samour, who was killed earlier in the day by Israeli tank fire. ─AFP

Worshippers perform Friday prayers during a tent city protest near the border with Israel. ─AFP
Worshippers perform Friday prayers during a tent city protest near the border with Israel. ─AFP

Palestinians take part in a tent city protest near the border with Israel east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip. ─AFP
Palestinians take part in a tent city protest near the border with Israel east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip. ─AFP

An Israeli drone flying after dropping tear gas grenades during clashes with Palestinian protesters at a tent city protest near the border with Israel. ─AFP
An Israeli drone flying after dropping tear gas grenades during clashes with Palestinian protesters at a tent city protest near the border with Israel. ─AFP

Palestinians fleeing as tear gas grenades begin to drop during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza City. ─AFP
Palestinians fleeing as tear gas grenades begin to drop during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza City. ─AFP

Map showing sites of protest in Gaza. ─AFP
Map showing sites of protest in Gaza. ─AFP

Israeli soldiers take aim as they lie prone over an earth barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip as Palestinians demonstrate on the other side. ─AFP
Israeli soldiers take aim as they lie prone over an earth barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip as Palestinians demonstrate on the other side. ─AFP

A Palestinian woman holds a Palestinian flag during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City. ─AP
A Palestinian woman holds a Palestinian flag during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City. ─AP

A Palestinian man and his son cover their faces from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel. ─AP
A Palestinian man and his son cover their faces from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel. ─AP

Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza Strip border. ─AP
Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza Strip border. ─AP

Relatives carry the body of the farmer Amero Samor, 27, into his family house during his funeral. Samor was killed when he was working at his farm early morning a long the Gaza strip border. ─AP
Relatives carry the body of the farmer Amero Samor, 27, into his family house during his funeral. Samor was killed when he was working at his farm early morning a long the Gaza strip border. ─AP

Palestinian protesters cover their faces from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel. ─AP
Palestinian protesters cover their faces from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel. ─AP