Approximately 10,000 Palestinians protested along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the sixth consecutive Friday, with dozens attempting to breach the fence and others sending incendiary kites into Israel.
For the first week since the demonstrations began on March 30, no Palestinians were reported killed by IDF fire.
Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that more than 1,000 Palestinians were wounded on Friday, three critically. Of them, 229 were evacuated to hospitals, while others were treated by medics in the field.
Since the “Great March of Return” began, some 7,000 Gazans have been injured and 45 killed, according to the Palestinian News agency Wafa. Twenty-four people were reported to have had limbs amputated due to injuries sustained by Israeli fire.
According to the IDF, riots broke out at five locations along the fence, with protesters burning tires, throwing stones and flying kites with flammable material attached, with the aim of starting fires in Israel.
Prior to the demonstrations, the IDF Arabic spokesperson warned Gazans against using the incendiary kites.
“The arson phenomenon is not hidden from our eyes and we are taking it very seriously,” Maj. Avichai Adraee posted on Twitter. “Attack kites are not a kids’ game and we don’t see it that way. Hamas is using you [Gazans] and is pushing you toward the cycle of terrorism.”
The heads of security for Israeli communities along the border of the Gaza Strip warned residents not to touch any kites that land in Israel, saying they could be booby-trapped.
The IDF has accused Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out attacks against IDF troops.
Hundreds of Palestinians also set fire to the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, damaging fuel and gas pipes that serve Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
“This is a cynical act that damages the well-being of the people of Gaza and the humanitarian efforts carried out by Israel and other countries,” the IDF said.
Also on Friday, two IDF drones – a simple Phantom 3 and a more advanced Matrice drone – crashed in the Gaza Strip.
The army said the drones were being used to document the demonstrations and had no classified intelligence on them. The crashes are being examined by the IDF.
The IDF also reported that several attempts were made by protesters to infiltrate Israel.
Three Palestinians who tried to breach the border on Friday were taken in for questioning.
Several Palestinians on Saturday placed Molotov cocktails on the security fence before returning to Gaza, the IDF said.
The IDF also reported that several men approached the fence in an attempt to sabotage it before IDF forces opened fire.
According to Wafa, at least six Palestinians who approached the border fence east of the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza were shot, including one who was critically injured. They were admitted with gunshot wounds to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah in central Gaza.
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