More than 400 Palestinians have been hurt, including 80 who suffered gunshot wounds, after Israeli troops fired live rounds and teargas as thousands of Palestinians protested near the Gaza border fence, health officials said.
Seven of the 413 people wounded are in a serious condition, the Gaza health ministry said, in the latest in a series of mass protests to call attention to a decade-old blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.
Some demonstrators burned tyres, threw stones and flew blazing kites as part of a march to mark the annual “Jerusalem Day”. The event was instituted by Iran to protest against Israeli rule of the holy city.
In the capitals of Iran and Iraq, thousands of Shia Muslims marked Jerusalem Day with protests, with some chanting “Death to Israel” or burning Israeli flags and effigies of President Donald Trump.
In Gaza, at least 115 Palestinians were killed and nearly 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire in previous protests near the border fence. The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded had been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials.
After Muslim prayers at noon on Friday, thousands of Gaza residents streamed toward five protest tent camps that had been erected more than two months ago, each several hundred yards from the fence. From there, smaller groups walked closer to it.
In a camp east of Gaza City, activists burned tyres, releasing black smoke. Others threw stones or flew kites with burning rags attached, aiming to send them over the border and set Israeli fields on fire.
Israeli troops fired volleys of tear gas, including from drones, that sent protesters running for cover.
One man with a loudspeaker shouted: “America is the biggest evil.”
At one point, seven activists in black-and-white striped shirts meant to resemble concentration camp uniforms from the Second World War approached the fence.
Activist Ahmed Abu Artima said: “We want to remind the world that the Israeli occupation is committing the same massacres that the Nazis committed.”
The mass protests have been aimed at a border blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, after the Islamic militant group Hamas overran the territory.
The marchers have also pressed demands for a “right of return” for descendants of Palestinian refugees to ancestral homes in what is now Israel.
More than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation. Two thirds of Gaza’s two million residents are descendants of refugees.