Palestinian, Israeli forces clash during Nakba Day demonstrations
Palestinian health authorities said that at least 65 people had been injured in the clashes, which broke out at rallies to mark Nakba Day.
Nakba means “catastrophe” in Arabic and Palestinians use it to refer to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, which they commemorate every year on May 15 with mass protests that often turn violent.
Medics at Shiffa Hospital in Gaza City said that the grandson of the late Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was among the injured.
Ahmad Abdulghani Yassin, 19, suffered injuries to both his legs, the medics said. Israel assassinated Yassin in 2004.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry also said that the 65 injured included 22 children, five women and three field paramedics.
“We tell the occupation and its leaders leave away because the day of slaughtering you and getting rid of you is near.
“You have no place in Palestine, Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa,” said Fati Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political arm.
Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers showered the demonstrators with foul-smelling water and also fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets to disperse them and keep them away from the border fence.
Palestinians also reported the use of live fire, but an Israeli army spokeswoman did not confirm the use of live ammunition.
The army said some 10,000 rioters and demonstrators were protesting at the border fence and that the army used riot dispersal means.
Rioters were burning tyres and hurling rocks and explosive devices, and there were a number of attempts to approach the border fence, the army added.
The Hamas-run al-Aqsa Radio station reported that thousands are expected to join the Nakba March in eastern Gaza, which is organised by the highest commission of the Great March of Return.
For over a year, Palestinians in Gaza have been holding weekly protests along the border fence.
They are calling for the right of return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to the territory of today’s Israel, as well as for an end to the 12-year-long blockade imposed by Israel.