Palestinian demonstrators shout during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border east of Gaza City, April 6, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
An estimated 10,000 Gazans participated in demonstrations near the security fence Friday as part of the weekly “Great March of Return” protests.
The demonstrators allegedly used Molotov cocktails and grenades during the protests in order to disrupt Israeli positions along the fence, though none of the projectiles landed in Israeli territory. The IDF responded with live fire and other dispersal methods, according to Israeli media.
"The Palestinian public participating in rallies across the West Bank and in 'The Great March of Return' [in favor of] lifting the siege, reflects the unity of the Palestinian people and their legal right to confront Israel. [We] will be released,” Hamas said in an official statement condemning the IDF violence against the Palestinian activists.
Several Palestinians crossed the border fence into Israel, reaching a dirt embankment close to the fence, only to return to the Gaza Strip after IDF forces arrived at the scene, according to the army.
Forty-six demonstrators were injured, according to the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Health Ministry.
Hamas will mark the 31st anniversary of its founding this Sunday, and plans to hold rallies not only in Gaza but also in the main cities of the West Bank.
Palestinians also protested in the West Bank Friday, throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian near Ramallah, Palestinian health officials reported.
The clashes followed a surge of violence in the West Bank over the past week. On Thursday a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers, and Israeli forces killed two Hamas fugitives whom it blamed for earlier terror attacks. Israeli forces also killed two Palestinians that Israel said had tried to carry out future attacks.