Thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border on Friday, burning tires and throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli soldier as part of a Hamas-led violent riot. It is the next part of a campaign they launched a week ago to either trigger a “Passover War” or, if they fall short, generate negative coverage of Israel as Israeli security forces try to de-escalate the situation. Hamas has been able to leverage its functionally complete military and political control over Gaza to mobilize thousands of Gaza civilians to serve as human shields.
Three Gazans were killed by Israeli fire as the IDF said it thwarted multiple efforts to breach the border fence.
The United States on Thursday attacked Hamas for sending children to the border, ‘knowing they may be killed.” They called on Palestinians to engage in solely peaceful protests and stay at least 500 meters from Gaza’s border with Israel.
The Times of Israel reported that U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said protesters “should remain outside the 500-meter buffer zone; and should not approach the border fence in any way or any location.”
He added in a statement: “We condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protestors — including children — to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed. Instead, we call for a renewed focus by all parties on finding solutions to the dire humanitarian challenges facing Gazans.”
The Hamas leadership had previously vowed to use the riot as a smokescreen for a “surprise” attack on Israel and said that the ultimate goal of the riot is to infiltrate the border and liberate Palestine.
Earlier on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the use of human shields, particularly the deployment of children along the border. “I reiterate my call on all concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further violence or place civilians in harm’s way, especially children,” said Guterres. “I call upon all parties on the ground to avoid confrontation and exercise maximum restraint.”
Last Friday, over 30,000 Palestinians demonstrated along the Gaza border, in a violent riot orchestrated by the Hamas terrorist group, which is in complete political and military control of the Gaza Strip.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said on Saturday that all those killed were engaged in violence. He said the army had faced “a violent, terrorist demonstration at six points” along the fence. The IDF identified 10 of the dead as members of terror groups including Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Palestinian Islamic Jihad later claimed an additional casualty as their own.
[photo: Issam Rimawi / Flash90]