Nine killed during Friday ‘March of Return’

From the comprehensive report on JPost.com

Despite Hamas’s claims, seeing the clashes close up revealed the reality. One of the videos showed a flag with a swastika on it flying between two Palestinian flags.

By Tovah Lazaroff, Seth J. Frantzman – April 8, 2018 06:34

The IDF killed nine Palestinians and wounded hundreds with live fire as soldiers defended Israel’s border fence with the Gaza Strip from infiltration on Friday in what was the second deadliest day since the “Great March of Return” began on March 30.

Amid warnings from Israel and the US to stay at least 500 meters from the border, Palestinians brought masses of tires to burn, using the smoke to shield their movements from the IDF.

Palestinian youths burned Israeli flags and planted Palestinian banners on dirt mounds beside tent encampments as others arrived on large trucks carrying piles of more tires to burn. Others launched stones with slingshots.

With Israeli tear gas rising into the air, Palestinian youths used T-shirts, cheap medical masks and perfume to try and protect themselves. Israel tried to douse the burning rubber with jets of water directed over defensive dirt mounds on its side of the border.

Some 31 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF since the Palestinians began the six-week protest set to end on May 15, during which thousands of protesters hope to break though the security barrier separating the Gaza Strip from Israel.

Some 20,000 protesters gathered by the fence on Friday in what the Palestinians have argued is a popular, nonviolent protest and which Israel has billed as a terrorist activity by those who aim to destroy the country.

Palestinians focused in particular on the death of Yaser Murtaja, 30, who was buried on Saturday after he was killed filming the protests while wearing a flak vest that said “Press” on it.

The IDF published a number of videos to the media over the weekend that showed Palestinian violence by the fence, including burning tires and attempts to break through. In some of the shots, black smoke can be seen billowing above the border. In one instance, a Palestinian rioter can be seen cutting through the wire fence with pliers.

Other attempts included Molotov cocktails and explosive devices, the IDF said.

The Prime Minister’s Arabic- language spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted about the flag as well on Friday.

“Hamas terrorists have planted today right on the Gaza-Israel border this Nazi flag which was flying b/w Palestinian flags. Hamas proudly declares that its aim is to annihilate Israel & the Jewish people. The genocidal message has been received. We will defend our country,” Gendelman said.

The IDF, which had declared the area a closed military zone, said the violence occurred at five points along the barrier.

By 10 in the morning, fires were already seen and black smoke was billowing at two places in the northern Gaza Strip near the town of Beit Hanoun. Hundreds of Palestinians could be seen on a road leading to the border, and food trucks and camping equipment festooned the road. Most of the Palestinians appeared to be onlookers. At a berm constructed by the IDF along the border, the army watched the Palestinians and the burning tires.

Palestinian media reported that dozens of ambulances had deployed a “field hospital” near the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. In Khan Yunis to the south, hundreds of men with tires were filmed. Shehab media’s Twitter account claimed a Palestinian was wounded in Jabalya in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Read the remainder of this comprehensive report on JPost.com HERE.

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