Palestinians observe national mourning over Gaza deaths

Palestinians observe national mourning over Gaza deaths

The theme of their protest has been the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees.

The IDF remains on high alert along the Gaza border amid fears that Hamas will try to carry out rocket attacks during the Passover holiday.

On Saturday, Israeli troops using live ammunition and rubber bullets shot and wounded about 70 Palestinians among demonstrators at the border, Palestinian officials said.

He said 40 surgeries were performed on Friday and that 50 were planned for Saturday.

Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and the CNN team heard shots fired.

However, it has never experienced the popular march of hundreds of thousands of people.

The 1.3 million refugees, known as Muhajereen in Palestine, comprise a large portion of Gaza's overall 1.9 million population.

"The use of snipers was against specific people who were specific perpetrators of violence", said Lt Col Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesman.

In Israeli tradition, justifications are no less important than opening fire.

The Israeli military says it opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

Ghanem Abdelal, 50, distributed water bottles to family members sitting on a mat near one of the tents.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised soldiers' actions for "guarding the country's borders", while Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the protests were not a "Woodstock festival".

Hamas itself provided the explanation for the apparent discrepancy. "If this continues we will not have no choice but to respond inside the Gaza Strip", Manelis told reporters in a phone briefing.

He said the Palestinian protesters are "members of Hamas" and that Israeli soldiers "prevented" activists linked to Hamas' military wing. This includes the government, the army leadership, political leaders in both the ruling coalition and the opposition and the press, which has behaved like a royal mouthpiece and a media outlet dedicated voluntarily to the service of the army.

Friday's protest was the largest protest seen in Gaza in years. Tank fire also targeted the three sites, following an exchange of fire.

Tent cities have been set up to host the marches, which are expected to continue through May 15 when Palestinians mark the anniversary of the "Nakba" ("Catastrophe"), the day after Israel declared independence in 1948.

Palestinian women wave their national flag and gesture during clashes with Israeli security forces.

Such investigations have in the past served only to whitewash Hamas and lay the bulk of the blame at Israel's feet.

Ynet reports that Liberman implored Army Radio host Kobi Meidan to quit the military station, after the journalist and television personality wrote a post on Facebook in which he said that the death toll in Gaza made him feel "ashamed to be an Israeli".

Yassin said he would not return to the border because of the risks.

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