April 20 (UPI) — Four Palestinians were killed in protests on Friday at the Gaza-Israel border, the health officials said.
Another 133 were injured, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, as Palestinians demonstrated at five points along the fence separating Israel from Gaza.
Those injured were hit by tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers at demonstrators coming too close to the border fence.
Friday’s demonstrations were the fourth consecutive weekend of anti-Israel protests organized by Hamas, Gaza’s government and military force.
Efforts by other countries, notably Egypt, to end the weekly demonstrations have been rejected by Hamas, which calls the protests a popular movement backed by all Palestinian factions.
Each Friday protest draws tens of thousands of people, although numbers have been declining each week. They will likely continue until May 15, the date on the Gregorian calendar the state of Israel was established. Palestinians regard it as Nakba, or catastrophe, day.
Israel celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding on Thursday.
Early Friday, the Israel Defense Force dropped pamphlets over the Palestinian demonstrators, urging restraint, and defiance of Hamas instructions.
In Arabic, they read in part, “You are participating in violent disturbances. Hamas exploits you to carry out terrorist attacks. The IDF is ready for any scenario. Avoid using weapons and carrying out violent acts against Israeli security forces and citizens… Don’t listen to Hamas’ instructions as this will endanger your life. Your future is in your hands.”