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Gaza protests: All the latest updates

At least 645 wounded as thousands of Palestinians take part in protests near Gaza border. Here are the latest updates.

Gaza protests

Palestinians in Gaza Strip are protesting for the fourth Friday in a row, as part of the Great March of Return movement.

Since the protests began on March 30, 39 Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been killed by Israeli forces, with more than 4,000 injured.

Here are all the latest updates from the Friday, April 20 protests: 

Four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces

  • Palestinian officials say that the death toll has risen to four, with Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, a 15-year-old from Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, joining the growing list of fatalities.
  • Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza's health ministry, added that at least 729 Palestinians, including 45 children, had been wounded by Israeli forces.
  • The other three victims were identified as Ahmed Rashad, 24, Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, and Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29.

Yahya Sinwar makes rare public appearance at protest site

  • Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near Gaza City.
  • Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd of protesters that they would "march on Jerusalem."

Naming the dead

These are the 39 Palestinians that have been killed by Israel since the start of the protests:

  1. Mohammed Naeem Abu Amr, 27, died on March 30
  2. Amin Mansour Abu Muammar, 22, died on March 30
  3. Mohammed Najjar 25, died on March 30
  4. Ahmed Odeh, 19, died on March 30
  5. Mahmoud Saadi Rahmi, 33, died on March 30
  6. Eyad Abdul Aaal, died on March 30
  7. Abdelfattah Abdelnabi, 19, died on March 30
  8. Jihad Freneh, 33, died on March 30
  9. Ibrahim Abu Shaar, 22, died on March 30
  10. Abdelqader Al-Hawajri, 42, died on March 30
  11. Abdel Fattah Bahjat, 18, died on March 30
  12. Jihad Abu Jamous, 30, died on March 30
  13. Fares Al-Raqab, 29, died on March 30
  14. Ahmed Omar Arafeh, 25, died on March 30
  15. Bader al-Sabbagh, 22, died on March 30
  16. Naji Abu Hujeir, 25, died on March 30
  17. Sari Abu Odeh, 30, died on March 30
  18. Hamdan Abu Amsheh, died on March 30
  19. Shadi Hamdan al-Kashif, 34, Rafah, succumbed to his wounds on April 5 from injuries sustained on March 30
  20. Thaer Mohammed Rabea, 30, succumbed to his wounds on April 6 from injuries sustained on March 30
  21. Ahmed Nizar Muhareb, 29, died on April 6
  22. Usama Khamis Qudeih, 38, died on April 6
  23. Majdi Ramadan Shabat, 38, died on April 6
  24. Hussein Mohammed Madi, 16, died on April 6
  25. Sobhi Abu Outawi, 20, died on April 6
  26. Ibrahim Al-Err, 20, died on April 6
  27. Mohammed Saeed Mousa Al-Hajj Saleh, 33, died on April 6
  28. Alaa Zamli, 17, died on April 6
  29. Sedqi Faraj Abu Atewi, 45, died on April 6
  30. Alaa Eddine Yahya Al-Zamli, 15, died on April 6
  31. Hamza Abdel Al-Aal, died on April 6
  32. Yaser Murtaja, 30,died on April 7
  33. Marwan Awdeh Qadeih, 45, died on April 9
  34. Mohammed Abu Hajeela, 31, died on April 12
  35. Abdallah Al-Shahri, 28, died on April 12
  36. Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, died on April 20
  37. Ahmed Rashad, 24, died on April 20
  38. Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, 15, died on April 20
  39. Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29, died on April 20

Great March of Return spokesman: South Africa is our model

Asaad Abu Shariek, a spokesman for the "Great March of Return" protest movement, said demonstrators were following a path laid down by South Africa during its struggle against apartheid.

"People are very enthusiastic to come and take part in the protests because they know without participating in this non-violent form of resistance they can't achieve their objective," Abu Shariek said.

When asked whether the protests would lead to any tangible concessions by the Israelis, Abu Shariek said: "We are implanting an idea in the minds of people across the world that Palestinians have rights and they hope for the right of return.

"We want the world to impose a military embargo on Israel and the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] strategy. South Africa used this method and they emerged victorious and I think we will be no exception."

Death toll reaches 37 Palestinians killed

  • Ahmed Rashad, 24, was pronounced dead by the Palestinian Ministry of Health after being hit by a live bullet fired by Israeli forces. This brings the death toll to 37 Palestinians since protests began on March 30.
  • Ahmed Abu Akil, 25, died in the hospital after being shot with a live bullet, according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

Palestinians fly kites over fence into Israel

Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border have sent kites over the fence into Israel, including some carrying notes telling Israelis: "There is no place for you in Palestine."

40 Palestinian protesters wounded

  • At least 40 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli use of live fire and tear gas during protests along the Gaza-Israeli border, reported the Palestinian Ministry of Health.  
  • Among the wounded is Ahmed Abu Akil from Jabaliya. He has been moved to the intensive care unit after being injured in the head by live bullets fired by the Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 
  • Another two Palestinians have also been reported injured in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces fired live bullets at protesters. 

Israel drops leaflets in Gaza: 'Stay away from border fence'

  • Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh Palestinian protests along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.
  • It was the first time leaflets have been dropped in the recent round of demonstrations. 
  • "The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it," said the leaflets, which were scattered by Israeli aircraft in the early morning in areas along the border.

Friday, April 13th 

Number of injured approaches 1,000: health ministry

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health is reporting that a total of 969 people have been injured by Israeli forces

Palestinian killed in Gaza

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Islam Herzallah, 28, died after being shot by Israeli snipers in his stomach, east of Gaza.
  • The number of injuries has surpassed 701, it added.

Palestinian Ministry of Health: 528 wounded

  • Health officials in Gaza say at least 528 protesters have been wounded, including 16 journalists and medical professionals.
  • According to the ministry, at least 122 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition.

Palestinian Ministry of Health says 363 protesters wounded so far

  • Journalists are among the injured, with Ahmad Abu Hussein shot in the chest while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
  • A bullet also grazed the arm of Middle East Eye's photographer Mohammed al-Hajjar at the same location.

More than 100 protesters wounded, say health officials

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 112 protesters have been wounded by live bullets and tear gas along the Gaza Strip border.

Mobile clinic targeted near Khan Younis

  • The spokesperson for Gaza's health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra had condemned Israeli forces targeting a mobile clinic east of Khan Younis with tear gas, resulting in the suffocation of 10 medical staff.
  • "Despite the direct targeting of our medical points, we are determined to continue providing treatment to our people under all circumstances," he said.
  • The Ministry of Health also said that 30 protesters have been injured so far.

Three protesters injured

  • Three protesters east of Gaza City have already been wounded by Israeli forces.
  • "What we have seen over the past two Fridays is a great number of people shot by Israeli snipers," he said, speaking near the encampment near Gaza City. 
  • According to Gaza's Ministry of Health, more than 1,600 Palestinians were wounded last Friday.

Journalists undeterred by Israeli targeting

  • Last Friday, nine journalists who were covering the protests were hospitalised with serious leg injuries after Israeli forces shot at them. 
  • One them, Izz Abu Shanab, is a freelance photographer and said he was wearing a flak jacket marked with "PRESS" and a helmet.
  • "As I was working about 400 metres away from the border fence, the Israelis shot me with a live bullet in the leg," Abu Shanab said. "It broke the bone because it was an explosive bullet."
  • Another journalist, Jameel Dahlan, said that despite concern from family members, he will continue to cover the protests.
  • "We as journalists send a message," he said. "No matter what my wife or mother says, we love our work. Because of that we'll keep coming here."

'Burn the Israeli flag'

  • Amer Shreiteh, member of the Coordinating Committee for the Return March, told local Palestinian media that Friday's protest theme has been dubbed as "Burn the Israeli flag and raise the Palestinian one".
  • "A 25-metre flag mast has been built for each of the five encampments along the border," he said. 
  • In a statement, the Committee confirmed its commitment to a peaceful, popular protest.

Friday, April 6th

For a second week, thousands of Palestinians protested along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, as part of the Great March of Return movement.

Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians during the past week, including 21 during and after the March 30 protests, which wounded more than 1,600 others.

Eight Palestinians died last Friday, including one who succumbed to his wounds after being shot last week.

Two more died from their wounds the following day, including journalist Yaser Murtaja.

Local media: Eight killed by Israeli forces

  • The Palestinian Shehab News Agency is reporting that the death toll in Friday's protests has risen to nine, after Alaa Yahya al-Zamali, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces in Rafah.

Local media: Six killed by Israeli forces

  • The Palestinian Safa Press Agency is reporting that the death toll has risen to eight, with Sidqi Abu Outewi, a 45-year-old from Nuseirat, and Mohammed Hajj Saleh, a 33-year-old from Rafah, joining the growing list of fatalities.

Fifth Palestinian killed, health ministry says

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health says the death toll has risen to six, with 20-year-old Ibrahim Al-Ourr killed.

Palestinian Ministry of Health: 780 wounded

  • Health officials in Gaza said that at least 780 protesters have been wounded, including seven women and 31 children.

Fourth Palestinian killed, health ministry says

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that a 16-year-old boy has been killed by Israeli forces.
  • The teenager, Hussein Madi, was dead on arrival after he was taken to Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, the ministry added.

Journalist: 28 wounded protesters in intensive care unit

  • Hosam Salem, a photographer at the scene in the southern Gaza Strip, said that there are currently 8 protesters in the intensive care unit at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.
  • Salem witnessed his colleague Yaser Murtaja, a 30-year-old journalist with a local media outlet, drop to the ground after he was shot by Israeli forces in the stomach.
  • "Yaser was filming with his camera next to me when we heard the sound of gunfire," Salem said. "He just fell on the ground and said, 'I've been shot, I've been shot'."
  • "He needed eight units of blood," Salem continued. "The hospital moved him from the operations room to the ICU where his situation remains critical."
  • Another journalist, Ibrahim Zanoun, was shot in the arm while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.

Health officials: Two killed, 250 injured

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health says protester Majdi Ramadan Shbat has been killed east of Gaza City by Israeli forces.
  • The number of those wounded has risen to at least 250, according to the ministry.
  • Shbat's death brings the total number of protesters killed on Friday to three, after Thaer Rab'a, who was shot by Israeli forces during the March 30 demonstrations, succumbed to his wounds earlier in the day.

Palestinian killed in Gaza

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed that 38-year-old Osama Qdeih has been killed by Israeli live fire east of Khan Younis.
  • The number of wounded has increased to at least 150, the ministry added.

Ministry of Health: 40 wounded by live fire and tear gas

  • Palestinian health officials say at least 40 protesters have been wounded.
  • According to Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry's spokesperson, five are in critical condition after being shot in the head or in the upper body.
  • Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor at Qatar University, said that the protests are the outcome of "years and years of frustration" by the residents of the Gaza Strip.
  • "If you look at the past 60 years there has always been delayed action from the Arab League and the international community [with regards to] the Palestinian question," he said.
  • "That delay of action is an indication that there is no serious attempt to stop Israel from doing what it is doing now."

UN warns Israeli forces to respect 'right of peaceful assembly'

  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell has expressed concern over further violence during Friday's demonstrations and in the weeks ahead.
  • Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Throssell said: "We remind Israel of its obligations to ensure that excessive force is not employed against protesters and that in the context of a military occupation, as is the case in Gaza, the unjustified and unlawful recourse to firearms by law enforcement resulting in death may amount to a willful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention."
  • Earlier, Gaza's Ministry of Health confirmed the death of Thaer Rab'a, 30, who succumbed to his injuries after he was shot by Israeli forces last Friday.
  • This brings this week's death toll to 22 Palestinians. 

Friday of 'Burning Tyres'

  • Palestinians have gathered hundreds of spare tyres and plan on setting them on fire in order to create a smokescreen to obstruct the vision of Israeli snipers.
  • The situation is calm at the moment, despite five Palestinians so far being wounded by live ammunition
  • "[At the five encampments along the border] you have entire families with their children dressed in traditional Palestinian clothes," she said. "They are having picnics, they are sitting on the floor, and there's a lot of vendors on the side.
  • "It is a completely different atmosphere and that's where the vast majority of people are."

Hamas internal security called for peaceful protest

  • On Thursday night, the internal security of Hamas released a statement calling on all protesters to "avoid friction with the Israeli occupation forces, and cooperate with the instructions of the organizers of the events."
  • The statement also called on participants to avoid wearing distinctive clothes and to not take photos or use their mobile phones.

Organisers of the march

  • "The march is organised by refugees, doctors, lawyers, university students, Palestinian intellectuals, academics, civil society organizations and Palestinian families," Asad Abu Sharekh, the spokesperson of the march, said.
  • "Using these claims of Hamas being behind the protests, Israel is trying to sabotage the idea of the march to justify its escalation against protesters."

Protests begin

  • The planned protests, which started on March 30, or Land Day, will continue until the Nakba anniversary on May 15, which marks 70 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns by Zionist militias in 1948.
  • Makeshift tents have been erected 700 metres away from the Israeli fence, symbolising the right of return for Palestinian refugees, who make up 70 percent of the Gaza Strip's population of two million.

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