Alwaght- Three Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy, have been killed on Friday after Israeli regime forces fired live rounds at protesters rallying near Gaza border and occupied Palestinian territories.
WAFA news agency named the murdered protesters as Shadi Abul-Al, 12, Hani Ramzi Afaneh, 21, and Mohammad Khalil Shaqoura, 21, adding that 248 people also were injured or suffered from tear gas exposure. Fifteen people have been hit by live bullets.
Israeli Defense Forces have referred to the protesters as “rioters,”insisting its response was proportionate and in line with its rules of engagement. The Israeli army spokesman said that the protesters pelted Israeli forces with rocks, burn tires and threw two grenades and bombs, inflicting an injury to one Israeli soldier. The soldier had suffered a shrapnel wound and received medical attention on the spot.
At least 178 Palestinians have been killed and thousands others injured since the outbreak of the “Great March of Return” protests on March 30. The protests call for ending the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of Gaza and for the right of return of the refugees.
Most of the casualties occurred on May 14 when Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of historical Palestine and the ensuing ethnic cleansing of half a million Palestinian refugees. More than 19,000 also were injured in the weekly protests.
The situation has been exacerbated by the US recognition of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the Israeli capital and the grand opening of the embassy there in May, which has drawn anger from Palestinians, the entire Arab world, and even some US allies in Europe.
The Trump administration’s recent decision to defund the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) and shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization offices in Washington have also fueled Palestinian anger.