Gaza: Dozens of Palestinians hurt by live fire from Israeli troops

Gaza: Dozens of Palestinians hurt by live fire from Israeli troops

April 13 (UPI) — More than 100 Palestinian protesters — out of thousands — were injured Friday by live Israeli fire along the Israel-Gaza border, authorities said.

Palestinian authorities said one was critically injured after the Israel Defense Force fired on the crowds. At least 121 others were also hurt.

The IDF acknowledged it used live ammunition to disperse the crowds, saying demonstrators burned tires and Israeli flags. The IDF said, though, the troops opened fire only after they attempted to breach fences on the border.

The army said it acted according to protocol and called the demonstrators “violent rioters and terrorists.”

“The IDF will not allow any breach of the security fence, which protects Israeli civilians, and will continue to operate in order to prevent terrorists who are involved in these acts of terror,” the IDF said in a statement.

Demonstrators — which numbered about 10,000 Friday — threw improvised explosives and firebombs at the Israeli army, which had erected numerous obstacles at the border.

Friday marked the third consecutive weekend of violent protests at the Israel-Gaza border.

One unidentified organizer told Haaretz Israeli airstrikes on Hamas positions in the past week show that Israel is attempting to draw Palestinians into a full-on confrontation.

Israel has accused Hamas of launching border attacks and attempting to infiltrate Israel under the guise of protests.

Thursday, the IDF said it bombed Hamas military targets in Gaza after an explosive detonated near an Israeli army vehicle at the border.

Protest organizers are attempting to build support for planned “Marches of Return” in mid-May, hoping to get one million demonstrators. The march would coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary celebration and the move of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Palestinians regard the day of Israel’s creation as “Nakba Day,” or day of catastrophe.