Israeli troops fired on Palestinian protesters who threw Molotov cocktails and burned tires in the Gaza Strip on Saturday (21), resulting in at least 41 injuries, according to Palestinian sources.
The Islamic movement Hamas, which controls Gaza, called the protest to commemorate the burning of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem 52 years ago.
“Forty-one civilians were injured, including 10 children,” the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry explained in a statement. A 13-year-old boy, who was injured in the head, remains in serious condition.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on television that these are “extremely serious events”.
The Israeli army told AFP that “hundreds of troublemakers and protesters” had gathered across the border. “Troops in the area are ready to use riot gear and, if necessary, 22-caliber bullets,” the army said.
Just three months ago, Israel and Hamas signed a truce after the worst incidents in years. For eleven days in May, Israel bombed the Strip in retaliation for the hundreds of rockets launched from the enclave.
Reconstruction in Gaza has not progressed since the May 21 truce, in part because of the blockade Israel has maintained around the Strip since Hamas took power in 2007.
Last Thursday (19), Israel announced it would allow the flow of funds from Qatar to Gaza, but other restrictions remain in place.