This weekend, violence broke out on the Israel-Gaza border as thousands of Palestinian protesters rioted at the security fence as part of a Hamas organised protest; prompting an exchange of fire that reportedly left 17 Palestinians dead, 11 of which the IDF believe to be Hamas terrorists.
Thousands of Palestinians from Gaza had gathered to protest by the border after Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation, began the annual ‘March of Return’. The event will run until mid-May with both “Nakba Day,” marking the displacement of Arabs after Israel’s establishment, and the repositioning of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The IDF reportedly reacted after demonstrators surged forward towards the fence, throwing stones and petrol bombs.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said that all those who died during Friday’s riots were involved in violence. It was “not a nonviolent protest. It was an organised, Hamas act of terror using civilians as a cover. All the fatalities were aged 18-30, several of the fatalities were known to us, and at least two of them were members of Hamas commando forces”.
The IDF on Saturday night identified 11 of the people reportedly killed during violent protests along the Gaza security fence as members of Hamas military wing or Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
This is the highest number of fatalities that has been reported since the Gaza war in 2016.