Ten-thousand Palestinians gathered and burned tires in five locations along the Israel-Gaza border fence Friday afternoon, according to the IDF spokesperson’s unit.
IDF soldiers used crowd dispersal measures in accordance with IDF rules of engagement and “are keeping high-alert.”
Earlier on Friday Israeli forces along the border with Gaza began preparations for mass riots expected to include the participation of tens of thousands of Palestinians.
Hundreds of Israel Defense Forces snipers are deployed along the fence that separates the Hamas-run enclave from Israel, Ynet reported.
The riots this week revolve around what many Palestinians call Naksa Day, or Day of the Setback.
It marks Israel’s conquest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the Six Day War of 1967.
Participation is expected to be high due to Ramadan. The bulk of protesters are expected to arrive at the fence in the afternoon after prayers, Ynet reported.
In addition to soldiers posted at the border, hundreds of troops were deployed there ahead of the event from the Nahal, Golani and Givati Brigades as well as special forces. Photographers and drone operators will document the riots for legal and media purposes.
More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in recent weeks in clashes along the border, which Hamas labeled non-violent but which featured the hurling of firebombs at troops near the fence and attempts to breach it. Dozens of protesters died in a single day, May 14, when Hamas organized what it advertised as a “march of return” into Israel in commemoration of what many Palestinians call Nakba — a day of mourning over the creation of the Jewish State in 1948 and the departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as a result of that war, that local Palestinian leaders and Arab rulers declared on Israel.
Many countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Sweden, condemned Israel for killing the rioters. The United States blamed Hamas for the violence and vetoed a UN Security Council draft motion blaming Israel.
Palestinians have burned hundreds of acres of agricultural land near the border by sending kites carrying torches and helium balloons. In recent days, the Israel Defense Forces recruited a few dozen volunteers with experience flying drones and other unmanned aircraft to intercept the fire-starting kites and balloons. They have safely downed hundreds, the Israel Broadcast Corporation reported, yet hundreds more caused fires inside Israel.
The IDF has deployed these reservists ahead of the Naksa Day protests.