Posts Tagged ‘Khan Yunis’

Thousands protest near Gaza border amid reports of imminent truce

August 17, 2018

At least 7 said injured in violent clashes with IDF; incendiary balloon sparks fire near kibbutz; defense officials say day’s events will be test of Hamas’s intent to ensure calm

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers in defensive positions on an embankment near the Gaza border during a violent Palestinian protest, July 27, 2018 (Courtesy IDF)

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers in defensive positions on an embankment near the Gaza border during a violent Palestinian protest, July 27, 2018 (Courtesy IDF)

Despite talk of an imminent truce in the Gaza Strip, thousands of Palestinian protesters once again gathered near the territory’s border with Israel Friday for the weekly Hamas-backed ‘March of Return’ demonstrations, with some rioters attacking Israeli soldiers along the fence.

Around 3,000 people were reported to be participating in the rallies at several points along the border with Israel. Some were hurling rocks at soldiers and burning tires to create a smokescreen. Others launched balloons carrying pictures of so-called “martyrs” who had been killed by Israel. The IDF said it fired at three people who attempted to sabotage the security fence.

Palestinian media reported at least 7 people wounded by IDF fire.

Meanwhile an incendiary balloon launched from the Strip sparked a fire near Kibbutz Be’eri. Firefighters were at the scene.

Sources in the Defense Ministry said the events of the day would be a test of Hamas’s willingness or ability to enforce calm as part of a deal.

An unconfirmed Lebanese television report Thursday said the truce was set to last for a year and see the establishment of a cargo shipping connection between Gaza and Cyprus.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he would remain in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv to receive constant updates about what was happening along the border.

A female Palestinian protester holds a slingshot during a demonstration at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on August 10, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

The army stressed that its preparations ahead of Friday’s demonstrations has been no different than in the previous four months.

Over the past four months the “March of Return” protests have led to deadly clashes which saw Israeli security forces facing gunfire, grenades, Molotov cocktails, and efforts — sometimes successful — to damage or cross the border fence.

At least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the weekly protests began, a Hamas ministry says. Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

In addition to the border clashes, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border from Gaza. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/army-braces-for-fresh-gaza-violence-amid-reports-of-imminent-truce/

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Hamas announces ceasefire after killing of Israeli soldier near Gaza sparks strikes — Israel says “The gloves are coming off.”

July 21, 2018

Soldier wounded by sniper fire on Friday dies of his wounds; IDF says three Hamas battalion headquarters destroyed in reprisal raids; 3 projectiles fired at Israel, 2 intercepted

A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows explosions from Israeli bombardment in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets across the Gaza Strip on July 20 after shots were fired at troops on the border and a soldier was killed, the army said, with Hamas reporting several members of its military wing killed in the latest flare-up in months of tensions.( AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)

A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows explosions from Israeli bombardment in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets across the Gaza Strip on July 20 after shots were fired at troops on the border and a soldier was killed, the army said, with Hamas reporting several members of its military wing killed in the latest flare-up in months of tensions.( AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)

Hamas announced a ceasefire with Israel in the early hours of Saturday morning, after Palestinian snipers shot and killed an IDF soldier on the Gaza border earlier on Friday, sparking the night’s widespread Israeli strikes on Hamas targets across Gaza.

“With Egyptian and UN efforts, [an agreement] was reached to return to the previous situation of ceasefire between the occupation and Palestinian factions,” tweeted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Israel had no official comment on the ceasefire announcement.

The IDF announced the death of the soldier late Friday night, revealing details on the deadly incident hours after it happened.

“Today, an IDF combat soldier was killed during operational activity near the southern Gaza Strip. During the incident, a terrorist squad shot at IDF troops and the IDF soldier was severely injured. He later succumbed to his wounds,” the army said.

Details of the death were withheld for several hours until the soldier’s family were notified. His name was not immediately published.

Earlier the IDF said Gaza snipers had opened fire on troops, calling it the “most serious incident since the 2014 Gaza war.

In response the Israel Air Force launched a major wave of strikes at Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip on Friday evening.

“At this time our aircraft are carrying out widespread attacks against terror targets belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said, adding that this came after the “serious shooting incident against our forces,” referring to sniper fire at IDF troops during a riot on the border earlier in the day.

A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows a fireball exploding in Gaza City during Israeli strikes (AFP PHOTO / BASHAR TALEB)

The army said around 60 targets were hit, including three Hamas brigade headquarters in Zeitoun, Khan Younis and al-Bureij. The army said the headquarters were completely destroyed along with “weapons and ammunition stores, training grounds, observation posts, control centers and the offices of the brigade commander.”

The IDF said it also destroyed factories and machinery for the manufacture of weapons, a drone storage facility, an entry shaft to tunnels and “elements for constructing underground infrastructure.”

There were no reports from Gaza of injuries in the strikes.

“The strikes are continuing,” the IDF said, releasing video of the strikes.

Following the strikes, rocket warning sirens wailed in communities around Gaza. At least two projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome system and another fell in an open field, the army said. There were no reports of projectiles falling in Israeli communities or injuries.

The air raids came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the IDF headwaters in Tel Aviv to join Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the top IDF generals for a security assessment.

The IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis did not rule out a major ground offensive, but said the IDF was not looking to enter a full-scale conflict. Nonetheless, the fire on the troops at the border was “the most serious incident” since the 2014 conflict, Manelis said, and the IDF’s Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot had spent the years since then ensuring that the army was ready for “whatever response is necessary.”

A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows smoke plumes rising after an Israeli bombardment in Gaza City.
Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets throughout the Gaza Strip on July 20 after shots were fired at troops along the border, the army said, with Gaza’s health ministry reporting three Palestinians killed. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Hadashot news that Israel was preparing for a massive response on Gaza.

“Last week the air force carried out strikes that were described as the largest since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, we will look back at it after our response now and say it was a joke,” Hanegbi said. “The gloves are coming off.”

“The situation is that Hamas has repeatedly ignored our warnings, both private and public,” Hanegbi said.

Hadashot news analysts said that while Israel’s response would be widespread, it was unlikely to include the entrance of ground forces.

Israelis living close to the Gaza border were told to stay close to bomb shelters, and not to attend synagogues for Friday evening prayers in larger numbers than could be accommodated in protected rooms if Gaza terror groups were to launch rocket attacks.

Reports said that Israeli special forces had been stationed near border communities to prevent possible Hamas attacks through attack tunnels into Israel.

Manelis said that Hamas had spent the past three and a half months carrying out acts of terrorism during mass demonstrations at the border, firing rockets and mortar shells into Israel, and launching arson kites and balloons. Israel had tried to convey to the terror chiefs that it “means business” in demanding that the terrorism stop, but Hamas evidently had not got the message, he told Hadashot TV news.

Manelis noted that the IDF carried out a major drill this week, including simulating a ground incursion to retake control of Gaza, from where Israel withdrew in 2005. Asked whether that was a likely scenario, Manelis said it would be more sensible to wait for the completion of the current military action “over the next few hours.”

He noted that Israel had deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the south and center of the country, and said the IDF was prepared “for all scenarios.”

Times of Israel

https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-soldier-killed-by-fire-on-gaza-border-sparking-wide-scale-israeli-strikes/

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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Palestinians call for ‘revenge’ at funeral of boy killed by Israeli fire

June 30, 2018

Thousands of Palestinians on Saturday attended the funeral of the 11-year-old son of a Hamas military commander killed by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip, with mourners demanding “revenge”.

Yasser Abu al-Naja, whose father is a member of Hamas’s military wing, was shot in the head on Friday in border clashes near the southern city of Khan Yunis.

© AFP | Palestinian relatives of 11-year-old Yasser Abu al-Naja, son of a Hamas military commander, grieve at his funeral in the Gaza Strip on June 30, 2018 a day after he was killed by Israeli fire during border clashes

Senior members of Hamas, which rules the blockaded Gaza Strip, and commanders of its Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades attended the funeral.

“Yasser’s martyrdom is clear proof of the crimes committed by the (Israeli) occupation against the Palestinian people,” said senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya during the ceremony.

“The occupiers killed the child in cold blood,” said Hayya, a member of the Islamist Palestinian group’s political bureau.

The boy was one of two Palestinians killed on Friday by Israeli troops during border clashes in southern Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry in the coastal enclave.

His exact age was initially unclear but his family said on Saturday that Yasser was born on September 19, 2006.

The second fatality was identified as Mohammed al-Hamayda, 24, who was shot in the stomach in a separate incident east of Rafah in Gaza’s south. A separate funeral was held for him there.

The army said thousands of Palestinians took part in “extremely violent riots” on Friday and “committed various acts of terror in several locations” along Gaza’s border with Israel.

A statement said troops responded with “riot dispersal means” and “resorted to live fire” when those failed.

It said the death of the boy would be examined.

Since protests broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, at least 137 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

The majority were involved in protests but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.

No Israelis have been killed.

AFP

Israel: One Palestinian Killed, 16 Wounded in Seventh Week of Gaza Protests

May 11, 2018

Another 30 were wounded by gas inhalation during clashes with the Israel Defense Forces, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reports

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Palestinian demonstrators at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip, May 11, 2018
Palestinian demonstrators at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip, May 11, 2018\ IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS

A Palestinian was killed and 16 were wounded in protests on Friday along the Gaza border from live gunfire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, as thousands of Gazans protest along the border in the seventh consecutive week of the “March of Return.”

A sixteen-year-old Palestinian suffered a serious headshot wound from live gunfire. Another one of the wounded reported includes a journalist who sustained light injuries to his leg, near the fence in the southern town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. 7 of those wounded are in serious condition.

According to the reports, four Palestinians sustained wounds from live gunfire. Others were wounded by rubber-tipped bullets and gas inhalation. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported of 30 wounded by gas inhalation.

skip – Your guide to the Gaza protests

Your guide to the Gaza protests – דלג

The committee organizing the demonstration dubbed this week’s protest “preparation and warning of what’s to come,” marking this as the last Friday before the so-called “March of Return” peaks on 14-15 of May, focusing on the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and commemorating Nakba day.

Earlier Friday, three right-wing activists were arrested after attempting to send an incendiary kite into the Gaza Strip. The kite was believed to have fallen inside Israeli territory, where it started a small brush fire.

Hamas head gives support for protesters to breach Gaza fence

May 10, 2018

 

A senior Hamas official signalled support Thursday for thousands of Palestinians to breach the border fence from Gaza into Israel at protests to coincide with next week’s US embassy move to Jerusalem.

© AFP/File | Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Khan Yunis on May 4, 2018

AFP

In his first major briefing to international media since becoming Gaza head of the Islamist group in 2017, Yahya Sinwar implied he would like to see thousands of Palestinians crossing into Israel as part of more than a month of protests.

Asked what he wanted to see from protests on Monday and Tuesday, Sinwar pointed out Israel has never specifically defined its borders.

“What’s the problem with hundreds of thousands breaking through a fence that is not a border?”

Sinwar said he hoped Israel would not shoot at what he called “peaceful” protests.

Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, crowd

 Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, center, chant slogans at a demonstration of Palestinians

Fifty-two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests and clashes began on March 30 calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.

The majority of those killed were shot during protests and clashes near the border.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers and there have been international calls for an independent investigation.

Thousands are expected to gather along the border on Monday, which coincides with the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

There are fears protesters could try and breach the fence, leading to more bloodshed.

Palestinians, who also consider Jerusalem their capital, reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the divided holy city, with widespread street protests.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since forcing out the internationally recognised Palestinian government in 2007.

Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, is considered a terrorist organisation by the Jewish state, the United States and the European Union.

Palestinians Set Fires at Israel-Gaza Crossing; 42 Wounded by Israeli Fire in Border Protests

May 4, 2018

Gaza Health Ministry: Three wounded protesters in critical condition ■ IDF says protesters tried to breach border ■ 45 killed since protests started six weeks ago

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Palestinian protesters flee from incoming teargas canisters during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.
Palestinian protesters flee from incoming teargas canisters during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

Some 10,000 Palestinians protested along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the sixth consecutive Friday, with demonstrators attempting to breach the fence met by Israeli attempts to disperse them.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, violent riots broke out at five locations along the fence, with protesters burning tires, throwing stones and flying kites with flammable material with the aim of starting fires on the Israeli side of the border. Gaza’s Health Ministry said 350 protesters were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces, 42 of whom by live fire.

A wounded demonstrator is evacuated during clashes with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border, May 4, 2018.
A wounded demonstrator is evacuated during clashes with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border, May 4, 2018.\ IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS
A Palestinian woman protester hurls stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.
A Palestinian woman protester hurls stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

The IDF said a few dozen protesters set fires at several locations on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing with the aim of damaging pielines that transfer gas and fuel from Israel into the Strip. In addition, two attempts were made by a group of protesters to cross into Israeli territory from central Gaza, the military said. The IDF added that two drones used for observation fell on the Gazan side, but that there is no suspicion information has been leaked.

Of those Palestinians wounded in the clashes, 148 were evacuated to hospitals, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. Twenty of the wounded protesters were hit by Israeli rubber bullets. Three of those wounded are in critical condition, while 42 others sustained light to moderate wounds. Since the confrontations began on March 30, 45 Palestinians have been killed. The last death came on Thursday.

The committee in Gaza organizing the protests said the theme this week is “The Friday of the workers” to mark May 1, and in honor of the Palestinian worker. The organizing committee expressed disappointment that the protests have not spilled over into the West Bank.

Ahead of Friday’s protest, the army warned Palestinians against attempting to send kits with firebombs attacked to them into Israel, as has already happened this week, saying soldiers would respond with force.

Palestinians prepare an incendiary device attached to a kite before trying to fly it over the border fence with Israel, on the eastern outskirts of Jabalia, Gaza, May 4, 2018.
Palestinians prepare an incendiary device attached to a kite before trying to fly it over the border fence with Israel, on the eastern outskirts of Jabalia, Gaza, May 4, 2018.MOHAMMED ABED/AFP
Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis, May 4, 2018.
Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis, May 4, 2018.SAID KHATIB/AFP

Even before the present wave of weekly protests began, the IDF warned that it would use live ammunition against anyone trying to damage the fence and enter Israel. The use of live fire against the protesters has been criticized both inside Israel and abroad. The authorities in the Gaza Strip claim almost 2,000 Palestinians have been injured during the protests.

The UN special representative to the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, harshly criticized the death of a 15-year-old in Gaza, saying the killing of a child was outrageous and demanded Israel and the IDF “stop shooting at children.” The EU also called to investigate the incident.

Human rights organizations recently petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to cancel the rules of engagement that allow soldiers to fire on protestors along the border is they are not a concrete and immediate threat to human life. In addition, the groups have asked the High Court to rule that these rules of engagement during protests are illegal.

In its response, the government said the protests by Palestinians along the Gaza border fall into the category of a state of war and thus human rights law does not apply to the rules of engagement. According to the state, the Israeli rules of engagement comply with both Israeli and international law.

Thousands march on Gaza-Israel border in 5th Friday of protests

April 27, 2018

Thousands of Palestinian protesters returned to points along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel for a fifth consecutive Friday of demonstrations dubbed the Great March of Return.

© AFP | Palestinian demonstrators run for cover on April 27, 2018 during protests near the Gaza Strip’s southern city of Khan Yunis

Demonstrators again gathered at five sites near the border fence, though numbers were down on previous weeks.

Dozens of young men burned tyres and threw stones a few hundreds metres from the border, with Israeli soldiers occasionally firing at them.

Fifty people were injured by gunfire or teargas inhalation, Gaza’s health ministry said.

A 22-year-old freelance photographer was among those shot, the ministry said.

Forty-one Palestinians have been killed since the demonstrations began on March 30, with hundreds more injured.

Marchers are demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in 1948.

Israel says that allowing the refugees in would mean the end of the Jewish state, and accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as a pretext for violence.

Demonstrations are expected to spike again in the lead up to May 14, when the United States is expected to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The decision has infuriated Palestinians, who see the annexed eastern half of the holy city as the capital of their future state.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the deaths along Gaza’s border, with the army saying its troops only use live ammunition as a last resort.

http://www.france24.com/en/20180427-thousands-march-gaza-israel-border-5th-friday-protests

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Gaza Protests: ’25 Wounded’ as Palestinians March on Border for Fifth Week — Protests are Both ‘Routine’ and Deadly

April 27, 2018

Organizers of this week’s protest – themed ‘rebellious youth’ in honor of those killed during past demonstration – promise to keep the march nonviolent

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Palestinian demonstrators carry a fellow protestor suffering from tear gas exposure near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis during the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border on April 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB
Palestinian demonstrators carry a fellow protestor suffering from tear gas exposure near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis during the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes SAID KHATIB/AFP

At least 50 Palestinians were wounded Friday as thousands particiapted in the “March of Return” along the Israel-Gaza border for the fifth week in a row, said the Palestinian Health Ministry. Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces also clashed in Hebron, leaving one lightly wounded.

Of the wounded, at least ten by live Israeli fire, four were medical staff and six were journalists, reported the ministry. According to the Palestinian news agency Maan two of the wounded were shot east of Gaza City and one east of Khan Yunis.

The committee organizing the protests said this week’s march is dedicated to “rebellious youth” to honor the thousands of young people who have come to protest every week at the area along the border fence.

The organizers said that this week, too, the marches are supposed to remain a nonviolent mass protest. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, youths scattered sand bags in several locations along the border earlier this week for protection against sniper fire.

>> Stop shooting: Israel cannot allow more young Gazans to die today | Editorial ■ Analysis: Gaza’s March of Return Reflects a Desire for New Palestinian Politics ■ Israeli Rights Group Urges UN: Make Israel Stop Shooting at Gaza Protesters

The protests will continue even after May 15, the day the Palestinians mark the Nakba (Catastrophe) – the founding of Israel – said Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, on Wednesday. “The Palestinian people will demonstrate throughout the month of Ramadan to deal with the many challenges facing us, and first of all the peace plan promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump, called the ‘Deal of the Century,’” said Haniyeh.

Palestinian casualties in border demonstrations

“We will turn this deal into a resounding slap in the face for the administration in Washington and anyone who weaves conspiracies against the Palestinian people,” added Haniyeh.

Forty-two Palestinians have been killed and 5,511 were wounded in the mass protests since March 30, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Tuesday.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that Israel must address the use of excessive force in Gaza, and that the loss of life is “deplorable,” and that “the number of injuries is staggering.”

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein

Of the injured, 2,596 people were hospitalized in government hospitals, 773 in nongovernment hospitals and the rest were treated in the field. Of those in government hospitals, 1,499 were hit by live ammunition, 107 by sponge-tipped bullets, 408 suffered gas inhalation and 582 suffered other injuries; 2,142 were adults and 454 were minors.

The Palestinian National Council, the highest body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will hold a controversial meeting this week in Ramallah, which has also cast a shadow over this week’s protests.

Thousands are expected to turn out for the protests this week due to growing anger, particularly after the funeral of Fadi al-Batsh in the Jabalya refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday. Thousands attended the funeral of al-Batsh, a Palestinian engineer working for Hamas on weapons projects who was killed in Malaysia and whose death was attributed by foreign media outlets to the Mossad.

The deputy head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, Khalil al-Hiya, threatened Israel once again and accused it killing of al-Batsh. Speaking on the arrival of al-Batsh’s coffin in Gaza, al-Hiya said Israel bears responsibility for the death: “We say to the Zionist entity that without a doubt the day of punishment will come.”

Israel army given shoot orders ahead of Gaza border protest — “An explosive, sensitive situation is developing in the entire Middle East, but especially among the Palestinians”

March 28, 2018

AFP

© AFP | Gazans carry away a protester wounded during a clash with Israeli troops by the border fence near the city of Khan Yunis on March 23, 2018

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli chief of staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot has warned the army has been given authorisation to open fire ahead of mass protests on the Gaza border planned for Friday.

Eisenkot said reinforcements, including special forces snipers, had been deployed to the border to counter what he said was the most serious risk of conflict since he took up his post in 2015.

A series of incidents in recent days, including two infiltrations, one by three armed Palestinians who penetrated some 20 kilometres (12 miles) inside Israel, has already sent tensions soaring on the volatile frontier.

Friday’s mass rallies near the border fence mark the start of more than six weeks of planned protests leading up to the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem around May 14.

US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the disputed city as Israel’s capital in December has infuriated Palestinians who claim its annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Gazans are being urged to set up a string of protest camps along the Israeli border, each some 100 metres (yards) from the security fence, and the army is braced for attempts to break through.

“We won’t allow mass infiltration into Israel and to damage the fence, and certainly not to reach the communities,” Eisenkot told the mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“The instructions are to use a lot of force,” he said.

“We’ve deployed more than 100 snipers who have been drafted from all the army’s units, mainly from the special units. In the event of mortal danger, there is authorisation to open fire.”

Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, the most recent of which in 2014 ended with a fragile truce.

Asked whether he feared a new conflict, Eisenkot said: “The chance of that happening is greater this year than it was in the first three years of my term.

“There are a lot of negative vectors in the region that are pushing towards a conflict.”

Eisenkot gave a similar warning in a separate interview with left-leaning newspaper Haaretz.

“An explosive, sensitive situation is developing in the entire Middle East, but especially among the Palestinians,” he said.

Israel: IDF stresses no basis for claim paraplegic Gaza protester was targeted by troops

December 23, 2017

A week after Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh’s death, Yoav Mordechai asks Red Cross to share details of injuries the double amputee sustained, urges end to ‘conspiracy of lies’

Time of Israel
December 22, 2017
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This  photo taken on May 19, 2017 shows handicapped Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the blockade on Gaza, near the border fence east of Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

This photo taken on May 19, 2017 shows handicapped Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the blockade on Gaza, near the border fence east of Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A top Israeli general on Saturday said there was no basis for reports that the wheelchair-bound Palestinian amputee who was killed during riots along the Gaza border on December 15 was deliberately targeted by an Israeli army sniper or by Israeli troops in general.

An IDF investigation did not establish that Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh died as a result of IDF fire, Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai, the IDF liaison to the Palestinians, wrote on his Facebook page in Arabic. And there was “no basis for the false reports that a sniper deliberately targeted” him, Mordechai said.

Mordechai said he had called on the International Red Cross to share its records of the injuries Abu Thurayeh sustained at the border protest in order to “determine the truth and end the conspiracy of lies that incites violence.”

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. (Screenshot)

Palestinian reports, wrote Mordechai, have asserted that Abu Thurayeh, a double amputee who reportedly lost both his legs in a 2008 Israeli airstrike, died after he was shot by an Israeli sniper during the border protest.

His death sparked angry denunciations by Palestinians and others, who said he could not have represented a serious threat during the ongoing protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A picture taken on December 10, 2017 shows a tear gas cannister falling amdist Palestinian protesters during clashes with Israeli forces near the Israel-Gaza border east of the southern Gaza strip city of Khan Yunis. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

In the wake of the incident, the IDF launched an internal probe of Abu Thurayeh’s death, and determined that soldiers did not intentionally shootthe wheelchair-bound protester.

The results of the internal probe presented to Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir on Monday identified no “no moral or professional failures” by the part of the Israeli soldiers, but slammed Palestinian officials for hindering its investigation by not sharing details of his injuries sustained at the protest.

In its statement, the military said last Friday’s demonstration “was extremely violent and included thousands of rioters, and soldiers fired selectively on chief instigators.”

According to AFP, Abu Thurayeh was a regular feature at protests along the border. The unmarried 29-year-old lived at home with his parents and had been without regular work since the incident in which he lost his legs, the agency said.

“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir told AFP after his death was confirmed last week. “It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”

In video footage recorded early on the day of the incident, Abu Thurayeh could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.

“I want to go there,” he said, referring to the other side of the border, as a number of young men surrounding him waved Palestinian flags and others threw stones towards the troops. “This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision,” he said in another video posted on social media.

Wheelchair-bound Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Gaza-Israel border on December 15, 2017, as clashes with Israeli security forces against Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital intensified. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A few hours before his death, and despite having no legs, Abu Thurayeh climbed an electricity pole to raise the Palestinian flag, eyewitnesses and journalists present said.

The Guardian quoted eyewitnesses who said Abu Thurayeh’s wheelchair was later pushed up to the fence, whereupon he climbed out of it and tried to crawl forward towards it, before being hit.

Hamas, the terror group which rules Gaza and seeks to destroy Israel, has called for a new intifada to liberate Jerusalem and urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers.

At Abu Thurayeh’s funeral last week, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh termed him a hero and a martyr, and vowed never to relinquish Jerusalem. “And I don’t mean East Jerusalem, but unified Jerusalem,” he said, in footage screened by Israel’s Channel 10. “Not East Jerusalem and not West Jerusalem. Muslim. Muslim.”

On Friday, the Gaza health Ministry said two protesters were killed in ongoing clashes along the border, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed since Trump’s December 6th announcement to 11.

During clashes east of Gaza city, another wheelchair-bound demonstrator was documented by Daily Mail taking part in violent riots.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-general-no-basis-for-claims-paraplegic-gaza-protester-killed-by-israel/