Israeli troops martyr four Palestinians as Gaza protest resumes
GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli troops martyred four Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others on Friday with live fire or tear gas used against protesters at the Gaza border, medics said, while Israel said militants had attacked its forces with guns and grenades.
Organisers linked the protests to annual “Jerusalem Day” events in Iran, which like Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists preaches Israel’s destruction and was incensed by the US recognition in December of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
“There is no such state called Israel that could have a capital called Jerusalem,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.
He said the Gaza demonstrations, launched on March 30, would continue until Palestinians achieve their demand for a right of return to ancestral lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its creation.
The Palestinians martyred on Friday were three adult men and a 15-year-old boy, medics said. Of 618 people wounded, 120 were from live fire, they said.
Among those wounded by gunfire was an Agence France-Presse photographer and a 23-year-old man who was on life support after a tear gas canister penetrated his face, medics said.
Hamas seized Gaza from Western-backed Palestinian authorities in 2007 and has fought three wars with Israel there. Two million Palestinians have sunk into poverty as Israel and Egypt, citing security needs, clamped down on Gaza’s borders.
“We are not asking for the moon,” said Amer Abu Khalaf, a 20-year-old business administration student who took part in Friday’s protest, saying it aimed to “break the siege and have the world recognise our right to return”.