The IDF did not confirm the Hamas figures. The army said organizers of the protests were deliberately trying to place civilians in harm’s way, and cited an incident in which it said a seven-year-old girl was sent to the security fence in an apparent cynical attempt to draw Israeli fire, but was spotted by troops who realized what was happening and ensured she was not hurt.
Israel’s Channel 10 news reported that some of the Palestinians fired on by the IDF were suspected of trying to place improvised explosive devices along the Gaza border fence.
The army confirmed that soldiers had shot at “main instigators.” It said some protesters were lighting tires on fire and throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at IDF troops on the other side of the border. The military maintained that it would not allow Palestinian protesters to “violate Israel’s sovereignty” by crossing the security fence.
Palestinian women wave Palestinian flags and flash the victory gesture during a protest near the border with Israel east of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
The main sites for protests in Gaza were Rafah and Khan Younis in the south, el-Bureij and Gaza City in the center, and Jabalya in the northern portion of the coastal enclave.
Hamas’s military wing instructed its members to urgently donate blood to hospitals in northern Gaza Strip. The terror group claimed there was shortage of blood units due to the large number of Palestinians injured in Friday’s riots.
Early Friday morning, a Palestinian farmer was killed by Israeli tank fire near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry said. Witnesses said he was working his land near the border when the shells hit, but Hadashot news reported that the army suspected the man had been trying to place an improvised explosive device near the security fence.
Via social media, leaflets dropped from airplanes and statements to news outlets, Israeli officials had repeatedly warned Palestinians not to try to breach the security fence during the protests.
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