The Latest: Gaza health facilities brace for protests ahead

The Latest: Gaza health facilities brace for protests ahead
The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and protests along with Israel-Gaza border (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Gaza health facilities are preparing for mass casualties ahead of an anticipated large rally this week at Israel’s border.

Shifa hospital spokesman Ayman Sahbani said Sunday that tents with medical equipment are being set up outside the facility to ease pressure on its 20-bed emergency ward.

He warned that the hospital, Gaza’s biggest, will quickly “run out of medicine” and other items if it operates at full capacity.

He said Shifa has been badly affected by a decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after the Islamic militant group Hamas assumed control of Gaza.

Since late March, 42 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire and over 1,700 other wounded in border unrest.

Tens of thousands could try and burst through into Israel at protests this week.

Israel says it’s defending its sovereign border and its nearby communities.

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10:40 a.m.

A high-ranking delegation of Gaza’s Hamas rulers is heading to Egypt a day ahead of a planned massive rally at the Israel-Gaza border.

The media office at the Rafah crossing point says Sunday the Islamic militant group’s chief Ismail Haniyeh and other members crossed into Egypt in the morning.

Hamas declined to comment on the departure, which is believed to be part of intensive diplomacy to contain the protest and prevent a possible breach of Israel’s border.

Last week, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sinwar, said international and regional mediators have come up with offers “to control” weeks of deadly protests. Hamas has organized them mostly against an Israeli-Egyptian blockade in place since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007.

The United States is opening its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. The decision in December to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem has ignited months of protests in the Palestinian territories and across the region.

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10:30 a.m.

Israel is preparing a series of festivities to celebrate the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, a move that has ignited Palestinian protests.

A reception on Sunday will include members of a delegation led by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

Dozens of foreign diplomats are expected, though many ambassadors of European nations who oppose the move will skip it.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and view the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv as a blatantly one-sided move that invalidates the U.S. as a Mideast peace broker.

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