Is­raeli forces kill 6 Pales­tini­ans in Gaza

At least 140 in­jured in mass protests along se­cu­rity fence

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - REMEMBERING -

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Is­raeli forces shot dead six Pales­tini­ans on Fri­day, four of them in a sin­gle in­ci­dent, in one of the dead­li­est days in months of mass protests along the se­cu­rity fence sep­a­rat­ing Gaza and Is­rael, Gaza’s Health Min­istry said.

The min­istry said four were killed in one lo­ca­tion, where the Is­raeli mil­i­tary said it opened fire on a crowd of Pales­tini­ans who breached the fence and ap­proached an army post. No Is­raeli troops were harmed, the army added.

Two other Pales­tini­ans were killed in other protest lo­ca­tions, the min­istry said, adding that at least 140 Pales­tini­ans were wounded by live bul­lets.

The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said 14,000 Pales­tini­ans thronged the bor­der fence ar­eas, burn­ing tires and throw­ing rocks, fire­bombs and grenades at sol­diers sta­tioned atop earth mounds on the other side of the bar­rier.

Since March, Ha­mas has or­ches­trated near­weekly protests along the fence, press­ing for an end to a sti­fling Is­rael-Egyp­tian block­ade im­posed since the mil­i­tant group wrested con­trol of Gaza in 2007.

Ha­mas’ chief, Is­mail Haniyeh, who at­tended a protest in east Gaza City, said that “the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the Pales­tinian peo­ple will break the siege.”

More than 150 Pales­tini­ans who have par­tic­i­pated in or were present at the marches have been killed since they be­gan. In May, about 60 pro­test­ers were killed in a sin­gle day, mak­ing it one of the dead­li­est since a 2014 war be­tween the two sides.

The block­ade has re­stricted Ha­mas’ abil­ity to gov­ern and plagued most of Gaza’s 2 mil­lion res­i­dents. Elec­tric­ity is sup­plied for roughly four hours a day, un­em­ploy­ment stands at more than 50 per­cent, and tap wa­ter is un­potable.

Re­peated at­tempts to rec­on­cile Ha­mas and the West Bank-based ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas have all but fal­tered, in­creas­ing the des­per­a­tion that has in large part fu­eled the demon­stra­tions.

This week, the United Na­tions be­gan su­per­vis­ing de­liv­er­ies of Qatari-do­nated diesel fuel meant to restart Gaza’s only power plant to in­crease elec­tric­ity sup­plies and mit­i­gate the cri­sis. The sta­tion has yet to op­er­ate.

Ha­mas seeks a cease­fire with Is­rael se­cur­ing an eas­ing of the block­ade but ac­cuses its ri­vals in the West Bank of thwart­ing the ef­fort. In re­cent weeks, it has stepped up its cam­paign, hold­ing night­time protests and adding new lo­ca­tions such as along the beach. Ha­mas says the es­ca­la­tion of protests is a re­sponse to the un­re­solved cease-fire talks.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

ABOVE: Pales­tinian pro­test­ers car­ried away a man who was shot by Is­raeli troops dur­ing a protest Fri­day at the Gaza Strip’s bor­der with Is­rael.

LEFT: Ha­mas’ chief,Is­mail Haniyeh, waved at demon­stra­tors while at­tend­ing a protest Fri­day in east Gaza City.

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