Despite Warnings, Gazans Converge At Tense Israel Border

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At least one protester is martyred as Gazans converge on Israel border for fourth consecutive Friday

GAZA CITY (AA) — At least one Palestinian was killed by Israeli army gunfire on Friday amid ongoing rallies on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border against Israel’s decades-long occupation.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Ahmed Nabil Abu Aql, a 25-year-old demonstrator, died shortly after being shot in the head near the border east of the city of Jabalia.

On Friday morning, thousands of Palestinians converged along the strip’s eastern border for the “Friday of Martyrs and Prisoners”.

Demonstrators raised images of Palestinians who were recently killed while taking part in the rallies.

The latest death brings to 36 the total number of Palestinians martyred since the border rallies began on Mar. 30.

According to the Health Ministry, some 3,000 others have been injured, many seriously.

In a nod to Palestinian Prisoners Day, which Palestinians marked on Tuesday, protest organizers hung banners bearing the images of Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons.

Roughly 6,500 Palestinians are currently held by the Israeli authorities, including 62 women and scores of children, according to Palestinian figures.

The border rallies in Gaza are part of a six-week-long demonstration set to culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as “The Catastrophe”.

Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the “right of return” to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

Warning

On Thursday evening, the Israeli authorities reportedly warned Gaza residents against approaching the fraught border.

Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israeli army planes had dropped flyers over the Gaza Strip warning would-be protesters to refrain from approaching — or attempting to damage — the border fence.

“You are strongly advised not to participate in acts of violence against Israeli army troops or Israeli citizens,” the flyers read, according to the newspaper.

The flyers went on to warn that Israeli forces would “use any means necessary” to preempt perceived “acts of violence” by Palestinian protesters.


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