Israeli army snipers shot dead at least nine Palestinian protesters, including a journalist and a 14-year-old boy, and wounded at least 300 others near the Gaza border fence with Israel on Friday, April 6, during the eighth day of the “Great March of Return.” Palestinian health officials confirmed that among those killed was journalist Yasser Murtaja, 30, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media. He was among the latest of the 29 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since last Friday, March 30, Land Day.
The killings came as tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters amassed at the border with Gaza at noon, burning large numbers of tires in order to provide protection from Israeli snipers and tanks. Israeli security forces shot both live fire and tear gas canisters at the protesters, while fire trucks sprayed water at the burning tires on the other side of the border in an attempt to extinguish the blazing tires.
Despite international criticism and calls for an independent investigation into the killings, Israeli authorities have doubled down on the decision to use live fire against unarmed protesters — vowing to repeat the same tactics that led to so much bloodshed a week earlier. In a newspaper ad campaign published late this week, human rights group B’Tselem urged Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to open fire on protesters.
A solidarity protests was held yesterday, Saturday, at the city of Sakhnin in the Galilee. Former Hadash MK, Mohammad Barakeh, chair of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an organization that represents Arab citizens of Israel at the national level and the body that organized the demonstration, said it is meant to send a message to the far right Israeli government “that it must stop the massacre along the Gaza border.”