GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on the Gaza Palestinians protest march and the violence along the Gaza-Israel border (all times local):
Palestinians are streaming to tent camps along Gaza’s border with Israel, ahead of what Gaza’s Hamas rulers hope will be the second mass protest in a planned, weeks-long series.
Hundreds arrived before Muslim noon prayers on Friday at one of the tent camps near the border community of Khuzaa.
Israeli forces fired tear gas that landed inside the encampment, causing people to run and push each other away to the other side of the camp. The canisters landed where TV live vans were positioned.
Activists plan to burn large numbers of tires on Friday, in hopes that thick black smoke will block the view of Israeli snipers deployed on the other side of the border fence.
From the camp, an Israeli sniper position reinforced by concrete slabs was visible. In another border area, smoke from burning tires rose in the air and several shots were heard.
A sand berm has been erected in recent days between the fence and the camp for extra protection. A dozen ambulances are parked nearby.
The United States is urging Palestinians in Gaza to stay away from the border fence with Israel ahead of a mass demonstration there.
White House envoy Jason Greenblatt issued a statement on Friday, calling on protesters to march peacefully. He warned against approaching the border area, where more than a dozen Palestinians were killed and many more wounded last week.
Greenblatt said the U.S. condemns “leaders and protesters who call for violence or who send protesters — including children — to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed.”
Gaza’s Islamic militant rulers have called for a mass rally at the border as part of a weeks-long campaign of protests against a decade-old blockade of the territory.
Israel is closely guarding the fence and has warned it will not tolerate attempts to breach it.
Israeli snipers and tanks have taken up positions ahead of an expected mass protest by Palestinians along the Gaza-Israel border fence.
In one location, protesters burned several tires near the border on Friday, sending clouds of black smoke into the air. Palestinian activists plan to burn many tires in hopes the smoke will block the view of snipers.
The planned march is the second in what Gaza’s Hamas rulers have said would be weeks of protests against a decade-old border blockade of the territory. Israel alleges Hamas is trying to carry out border attacks under the cover of protests and says it will prevent a breach of the fence at all costs.
The Gaza death toll since last week rose to 22, after a 30-year-old man died on Friday of injuries from last week’s demonstrations.
Israel and Hamas are gearing up for another showdown on the Gaza-Israel border, amid concerns about more bloodshed after more than a dozen Palestinians were killed in a mass protest last week.
Israel says it will prevent a border breach at all costs, warning that protesters approaching the border fence will endanger their lives. Rights groups have denounced such seemingly broad open-fire rules as unlawful.
Friday’s march is the second in what Gaza’s Hamas rulers say will be weeks of protests against a decade-old border blockade. Activists say they will burn tires to block the view of Israeli snipers with black smoke.
Turnout has been driven by desperation among Gaza residents and Hamas’ tight organization. The group has promised to pay compensation to the families of those killed and wounded.