Seven Palestinians were killed and some 500 were wounded by Israeli rubber bullets and live fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday, as a series of massive protests intensified along the security fence surrounding the Hamas-controlled enclave, Palestinian sources said. The Israel Defense Forces estimated that 17,000 Palestinians were taking part in “March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza border, focused at five main protest sites where rioters threw petrol bombs and stones at troops, and burned tires.
Six were reported killed in escalating violence by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, hours after a Gaza man was killed at the border in disputed circumstances. The IDF did not confirm the Hamas death toll figures. In a statement reported by Israeli Kan TV, the army said organizers of the protests were deliberately trying to place civilians in harm’s way, and cited an incident in which it said a seven-year-old girl was sent to the security fence in an apparent cynical attempt to draw Israeli fire, but was spotted by troops who realized what was happening and ensured she was not hurt. READ MORE