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Israel fire on Gaza border killed 6 Palestinians

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Friday’s actions are to be the first in a series of protests planned in Gaza in coming weeks. The protests are to culminate on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation, with a march through the border fence.

Palestinians commemorate the date as the anniversary of their mass displacement and uprooting during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel’s creation. The vast majority of Gaza residents are descendants of Palestinians who fled or were driven from communities in what is now Israel.

Israel’s military said ahead of Friday’s protests that it doubled its standard troop level along the border, deploying snipers, special forces and paramilitary border police units, which specialize in riot control.

Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, commander of the Israeli military’s Southern Command, which includes the border, said Friday that “we are identifying attempts to carry out terror attacks under the camouflage of riots.”

Ghanem Abdelal, 50, distributed water bottles to family members sitting on a map near one of the tents east of Gaza City. He said he hopes the protest “will bring a breakthrough, an improvement, to our life in Gaza.”

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ supreme leader, visited the tents, along with Gaza leader Yehiyeh Sinwar. The Palestinian Health Ministry said five people were killed by Israeli fire in subsequent clashes, including a 16-year-old boy and a 33-year-old man.

Several hours before the confrontations, a Palestinian farmer identified as 27-year-old Amr Samour was killed by an Israeli tank shell in southern Gaza, the Health Ministry said. Israel said troops had directed tank fire at suspicious figures near the border fence in the area.

Yasser Samour, a relative and fellow farmer, said Amr Samour was harvesting parsley before dawn, in hopes of selling it fresh in the market later in the day. “I was working on the next field,” Yasser Samour said. “We heard shelling landing on the field where Amr works. We ran there and found him hit directly with a shell. We were more than a kilometer away from the border.”


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