zionist Israeli forces shot dead 14 Palestinians and injured over 1,000 more along the Gaza border on Friday as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in “The Great March of Return” on the 42nd anniversary of Land Day.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 14 Palestinians were killed on Friday, Ma’an reported, adding that Mohammad Kamel Najjar, Wahid Nasrallah Abu Samour, Mahmoud Abu Muammar, Mohammad Abu Amro, Amhad Ibrahim Odah, Jihad Farina, Mahmoud Rahmi, Ibrahim Abu Shaer, Abd al-Fattah Bahjat Abd al-Nabi, Abd al-Qader al-Hawajri, Sari Walid Abu Odah, Hamdan Ismail Abu Amsha, Omar Samour and Bader Fayek al-Sabbagh were killed by the forces on Friday.
The ministry added that 1,272 Palestinians were injured, while the majority suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation, tens of Palestinians were injured with live ammunition, some critically.
The ministry called on Palestinians across Gaza to donate blood at hospitals.
Leading up to the march, the Israeli army released a statement saying it had declared the border area along Gaza a “closed military zone,” meaning that any Palestinian who got close to the border fence could risk getting shot.
The Israeli army released statements on Twitter describing the protests as “violent riots.”
“17,000 Palestinians are rioting in 5 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence. The rioters are rolling burning tires and hurling firebombs & rocks at the security fence & IDF troops, who are responding w riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators,” the statement said.
Despite the Israeli army’s claims, Palestinian activists and leaders in the Gaza Strip have maintained that the “March of Return” was organized as a massive non-violent, weeks-long protest advocating for the return of Palestinian refugees to their original homelands in historic Palestine, now present day Israel.
Leading up to Friday, the first official day of the march — which will continue until the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, in May — Palestinians set up tents along the border with Gaza, where protesters plan to stay until the Nakba anniversary.