Fifty-two Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations ahead of the US embassy inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.
More than 2,400 protesters have been injured in Gaza so far on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 203 children and 78 women, according to the ministry.
The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths.
There are around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces.
Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem.
The first of Monday’s deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. At least one child is among the fatalities.
Amnesty International has called the Israeli violence in Gaza “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.” Six children are among Monday’s fatalities, according to the human rights organization.
We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights in #Gaza. 38 confirmed dead, including 6 children, with close to 2000 people injured. Many are reporting injuries to the head and chest. Over 500 injured with live ammunition. This must end immediately.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) May 14, 2018
The majority of injuries have been caused by live bullets while some 320 people were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists.
Six journalists have reportedly been injured while covering Monday’s demonstrations, according to the Journalist Support Committee.
— Great Return March (@GreatReturnMa) May 14, 2018
Meanwhile, the IDF said Israeli Air Force planes targeted Hamas posts near Jabalya after its soldiers came under fire in the area.
The latest deaths bring the number killed since the Great March of Return protests began six weeks ago to 88.
Scuffles have reportedly broken out outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem as the inauguration ceremony took place inside.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has condemned Monday’s violence, claiming the US, as well as Israel, is responsible for the “massacre” because of their “unjust decision” to move the embassy.
Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday’s protests.
Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Returndemonstrations.
The IDF dropped leaflets warning people in Gaza to stay away from the security fence ahead of Monday’s protests. Demonstrators in North Gaza brought down an IDF drone that was allegedly dropping fire bombs on tents, according to the Great Return March movement.