PALESTINE (OBSERVATORY) – Three Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli army near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday, the fifth of a wave of protests in the “march of return,” according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
“Abdel Salam Bakr, 29, was shot by a live bullet fired by Israeli soldiers east of Khan Yunis” in the southern Gaza Strip, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qadra said in a statement.
He had previously confirmed the deaths of two youths “shot by the occupation” in eastern Gaza, one of whom was known as “martyr Mohammed Amin Almqayed (21 years).”
The death brings to 43 the number of Palestinians killed since the outbreak of protests in the framework of the “March of Return,” which began on March 30.
The Ministry of Health said the total number of casualties was about 600, including more than 300, who were transferred to Gaza hospitals. Five of them were described as “serious or critical.”
The wounded included three journalists, according to the Gaza Freedom of Information Center, a local center dedicated to documenting abuses against journalists.
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday.
The Supreme National Commission, which organized the protests on the Friday movement, launched the name “Jum’ah al-Shabab al-Tha’ir” (“Friday of Young Rebel”), while the organizers set up tents about 300 meters from the fence separating Israel and the tents.
Dozens of demonstrators stormed the border fence after they uprooted part of the barbed wire, AFP photographers said.
Dozens of tires were set on fire by youths, while others set sand barriers to protect them from Israeli bullets, throwing stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers hiding behind sandblocks or watchtowers.
The clashes appeared less intense on Friday, but their frequency has increased in recent hours.
In the morning hours, Israeli soldiers fired several loudspeakers through loudspeakers to “back,” according to AFP reporters.
The Israeli army said in a statement that some 10,000 Palestinians had participated in “riot” on the border with the Gaza Strip.
“There have been attempts to damage the security structure, rolling tires, throwing stones and kites loaded with burning bodies,” the statement said.
In response, his forces “used riot dispersal methods and fired in accordance with established rules,” he said.
Amnesty International called on Friday for an arms embargo against Israel because of the use of live bullets.
“Four weeks ago, the world watched the horror of snipers and Israeli soldiers in protective clothes attacking Palestinian demonstrators with live bullets and gas bombs,” he said in a statement.
The Palestinians began the “march of return” in conjunction with the anniversary of “Earth Day”, culminating in the 70th anniversary of the Nakba on May 15.
It aims to call for activating the “right of return” for refugees and lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army has come under fire for firing live bullets at the demonstrators but has defended its soldiers, arguing that its troops fired only when necessary.
Israel has rejected international calls for an independent inquiry into the deaths.