Great Return March: 28 Palestinians Martyred, 1693 Injured in Gaza Protests
"Israeli" Occupations Force [IOF] troops had martyred at least 28 Palestinians along the besieged Gaza border Monday, health officials said, as demonstrators streamed to the frontier on the day the United States prepared to open its embassy in al-Quds [Jerusalem].
It was the highest Palestinian single-day death toll since a series of protests dubbed the "Great March of Return" began at the border with Israel on March 30 and since a 2014 Gaza war.
The health officials said 900 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets.
Protests intensified on the 70th anniversary of the "Israeli" entity's founding, with loudspeakers on Gaza mosques urging Palestinians to join a "Great March of Return". Black smoke from tires burned by demonstrators rose into the air at the border.
"Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell ‘Israel' and the world we will not accept being occupied forever," said Gaza science teacher Ali, who declined to give his last name.
"Many may get martyred today, so many, but the world will hear our message. Occupation must end," he said.
"Israeli" troops martyred 16 Palestinians Monday, including a 14-year-old boy and a man in a wheelchair, and some 500 protesters were injured, at least 200 by live bullets, health officials said. The man in the wheelchair had been pictured on social media using a slingshot.
The latest casualties raised the Palestinian death toll to 70 since the protests began on March 30. No "Israeli" casualties had been reported.
The killings have drawn international criticism, but the United States, which has angered the Palestinians and Arab powers by relocating its embassy to al-Quds [Jerusalem] from Tel Aviv, has echoed the entity in accusing Gaza's ruling Hamas movement of instigating violence, an allegation it denies.
Later in the day, "Israeli" leaders and a US delegation including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, were due to attend the opening of the embassy.
The entity's military dropped leaflets into the enclave Monday, warning Palestinians "not to serve as a tool of Hamas" or approach or damage the entity's frontier fence.
But thousands of Palestinians massed at five locations along the line. Of the 35 people wounded by "Israeli" gunfire, four were journalists, the officials said.
The "Israeli" military alleges its troops are defending the border and firing in accordance with the rules of engagement.
The protests are scheduled to culminate on Tuesday, the day Palestinians mourn as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe" when, in 1948, hundreds of thousands of them were driven out of their homes or fled the fighting around the entity's creation.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team