Forty-one Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations ahead of the US embassy inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.
More than 1,700 protesters have been injured in Gaza so far on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 74 children and 23 women, according to the ministry.
The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths.
There are around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces.
Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem.
The first of Monday’s deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. At least one child is among the fatalities.
The majority of injuries have been caused by live bullets while some 320 people were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists.’
Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday’s protests.
Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Return demonstrations.’