GAZA, (Reuters) – Israeli troops used gunfire and teargas on Friday to keep more than 3,000 Hamas supporters from approaching one of the Gaza Strip’s main border crossings with Israel, wounding at least six Palestinians, witnesses said.
Palestinian medical workers said at least two of the wounded were in a critical condition. “The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) will operate with all its strength to prevent the demonstrators from approaching the security fence or the crossing … and from entering the state of Israel,” an Israeli military official said.
During the standoff, Israeli forces shot into the crowd to “make the rioters back off”, the official said.
The Israeli army had posted signs before the protest warning Palestinians that they faced “Danger of Death” if they tried to approach the Sufa crossing, used to bring some humanitarian supplies into the coastal territory.
Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June from rival forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has mounted several similar protests in recent months, demanding an end to an Israeli-led economic blockade.
Hamas blew open the border with Egypt earlier this year, putting Israel on heightened alert for similar actions. The demonstrators on Friday burnt tyres, waved green Hamas flags and chanted “Dismantle the siege”.
Separately, Palestinian medical workers said a 65-year-old woman died on Friday from wounds suffered a day earlier during an Israeli army raid near her home in the southern Gaza Strip.