In preparation for the expected protests and riots along the border between Israel and Gaza, the IDF dropped leaflets in Gaza on Friday morning warning residents of the Gaza Strip against trying to use violence against Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as to damage, cross or even come near the border fence.
The protests, titled the "March of Return," are expected to continue on Friday for the fourth consecutive week.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said: “The violent riots in the past weeks made use of civilians to cover terrorist acts against Israel’s security infrastructure and IDF forces. The IDF will not allow an attack on security infrastructure and the fence that protects Israeli citizens and will take action against anyone who tries to harm Israeli security.”
The leaflets, signed by the “IDF headquarters,” is addressed to Gaza residents. “You are participating in violent disturbances. Hamas is taking advantage of you to carry out terrorist attacks. The IDF is prepared for any scenario. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to damage it," said the leaflets scattered by Israeli aircraft in the early morning in areas along the border.
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“Avoid using weapons and carrying out violent acts against Israeli security forces and Israeli civilians. Keep away from terrorist elements and groups pushing riots and violence. The IDF will take action against any attempt to damage the barrier and its components and any other military equipment. Hamas is using you to advance the interests of its movement. Don’t follow Hamas orders that endanger your lives. It is possible [to act differently] – your future is in your hands,” states the leaflets.
Last week, over 10,000 people participated in protests along the border fence. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported that one person was killed and 969 injured, including 233 who were injured by live fire from Israeli troops. Some 30,000 people came to the border area, said protest organizers.
The IDF has said the Palestinians have tried numerous times to damage the border fence and cross it, as well as throwing explosive devices and firebombs at Israel forces. In one attempt, the Palestinians tried to attack Israeli forced using a kite carrying a firebomb. The kite fell inside the Gaza Strip and no one was injured. Other similar attempts caused a number of fires inside Israel, but no injuries.
On Thursday, Islamic Jihad published a video threatening Israeli soldiers ahead of the weekly demonstration.
The clip shows the group’s operatives looking through the scope of a rifle at Israeli military figures, including Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories. The video ends with a slide reading, “You’re killing our people in cold blood and think that you’re protected, but our snipers’ sights are on your top commanders.”
Since the beginning of the violent demonstrations along the border, 34 Palestinians have allegedly been killed by IDF fire and the bodies of two of them who tried to attack an IDF position are still being held by Israel.