Israeli Army killed 12 Palestinians and injured many hundreds as they opened fire on the largest group of protestors along the Israel-Gaza border. Palestinians had gathered in thousands at five locations all along the Israel-Gaza border to push for the right of return to Israel. The protestors had erected tents along the 65-km stretch for a protest planned for six weeks. As per the estimates of the Israeli military, the total number of protestors was 30,000. Families had also brought their children to the camps which were only a few hundred metres from the Israeli security barriers.
Despite the repeated calls from both the organisers of the protests and the Israel Army, to not to come close to the border the youth completely ignored them. Troops also resorted to riot dispersal techniques in addition to firing on the primary instigators of violence. Many demonstrators threw stones and rolled burning tyres towards the border. The Israeli army has stated that two demonstrators had also opened fire on Israeli troops across the border.
Israel has used tear gas, rubber bullets and gunfire to disperse the protesters as some of them were trying to destroy the border fence. Gunfire had left around 400 people injured while others who were hit by rubber bullets or tear gas were treated.
President Mahmoud Abbas had called for a national day of mourning on Saturday.
The protest was to push the Israeli establishment to legitimise the right to return to the places they had stayed on before they were expelled during the creation of Israel in 1948. Israel also accused Hamas of endangering the innocent lives of children and women who are sent to the security fence. Israel has deployed about 100 sharpshooters who have been suitably instructed to open fire on any protestor who is trying to cross the fence.
Israel has denied any right of return to Palestinians as there is apparent fear that such a massive influx of the Arabs will dilute the Jewish majority. Israel has instead asked the displaced Palestinians to resettle in the Israel-occupied West Bank or Gaza.