Palestinians Report Seven Dead as 15,000 Protest at Gaza Border

Defense minister orders halt in fuel deliveries to Gaza over border violence

Palestinian paramedics help a protester at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city, on October 12, 2018.
Said Khatib / AFP

Seven Palestinians were killed on Friday during protests at the Gaza-Israel border, the Gaza Health Ministry reported. At least 252 were wounded, 154 by live ammunition, including one critically injured and five seriously hurt, the ministry said. Some 15,000 Palestinians were participating in the weekly protest at the border, with the military saying that some were throwing firebombs and explosive devices. 

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had instructed that fuel deliveries to Gaza through Israel be halted because of violence at the border. Lieberman said that "Israeli will not tolerate a situation in which fuel tankers are allowed to enter Gaza on the one hand, while terror and violence are used against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens on the other."

The Israel Defense Forces said that the protesters threw explosive devices, hand grenades and firebombs, burned tires and threw stones at IDF soldiers and at the fence, the military said. According to the army, it responded with riot dispersal means and with live fire.

The IDF also said that the military identified a number of Palestinians climbing the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip who then placed an explosive device on the fence and set fire to it. The military added that it also identified about 20 Gazans who had crossed the border fence and approached IDF positions. Soldiers fired at them in response, the military said, with Israeli snipers killing three. According to the IDF, some of the other Palestinians who had crossed the fence took the bodies back to Gaza. The IDF reported it had found a knife on the ground after the Palestinians had gone back to Gaza. 

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The seven dead were named as Ahmed Ibrahim Zaki El tawil, 27, from the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza; Ahmad Ahmad Abdullah Abu Naim, 17, from the Nuseirat refugee camp; Mohammed Abdulhafiz Yusuf Ismail, 29, from the al-Bureij refugee camp; Tamer Iyad Mahmoud Abu Rummaneh, 22, from Rafah; Afifi Mahmoud Atta Afifi, 18, from Gaza City; Abdullah Barham Sulaiman al-Daghmah, 25, from Abasan al-Jadida; and Issam Abbas, 21.

According to reports from Gaza, Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh and his deputy Khalil al-Hayya were hurt from gas inhalation while on an escorted tour of the fence east of Gaza City. Hamas leaders in Gaza make an effort to appear in the tent area located 700 meters from the border fence.

Earlier Friday, Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported that Hamas had received a letter from the UN's deputy envoy to the Middle East James McGoldrick, which includes terms to ease conditions in the Gaza Strip in order to prevent further tensions.

According to the report, Israel demands the freezing of the weekly Palestinian protests, known as the March of Return and which started in March, as well as ending all attempts to cross the border, launch incendiary balloons and kites, and return to the cease-fire conditions of the summer of 2014.

At the same time, Hamas demands a 50-megawatt increase in the supply of electricity to Gaza and a solution to the enclave's electricity problem. Other demands include expanding the fishing zone to 12 miles from the coast, and then to 20 miles as was agreed to in the 1990s,; unlimited entry of goods to Gaza; exports of goods; and Israeli work permits for 5,000 Gazans.

According to the report, the UN is negotiating with other companies for Gaza needs, and to promote projects in the Strip to provide work for 15,000 new workers.

On Tuesday, the Qatari-sponsored London daily Al-Arabi reported that Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel will visit Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Amman in the coming days as part of tour meant to promote a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.