Three Palestinians were killed and dozens others sustained injuries during Friday’s 25th consecutive Great March of Return protests in the eastern sector of the besieged Gaza Strip. Thousands of Palestinians gathered on Friday, September 14, along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip with Israel to take part in protests under the slogan “Resistance is our Choice.” A spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that three Palestinians were killed during Friday’s protests.
The fatalities were identified as Muhammad Shaqqoura, 21, who was hit in the chest by a live bullet in eastern al-Breij in the central Gaza Strip; 12-year-old Shadi Abed al-Aziz Abed al-Aal, who was mortally wounded in eastern Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip; and Hani Ramzi Affaneh, 30, from Khan Younis who was killed in protests in the southern Gaza Strip.
The ministry spokesperson added that at least 30 Palestinians were injured during the demonstrations, 20 of whom were transferred to hospitals for treatment including 11 wounded by live ammunition.
The Great March of Return protests in Gaza and the vigil at Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank were featured in front-page headlines of the three main Palestinian Arabic dailies on Saturday, September 15. Al-Hayat al-Jadida wrote in its banner headline: “Three martyrs in Gaza and civilians confront the occupation with their own bodies in Khan al-Ahmar.” Al-Ayyam gave prominence to the events along the Gaza border with Israel, writing that three Palestinians were killed and another 248 were wounded or otherwise injured from Israeli army gunfire. The paper claimed that the Israeli army opened up with artillery fire along the border with Gaza to control the protests.
Al-Quds highlighted the Gaza story on its front page, adding that a number of fires broke out at Israeli locales along the Gaza border as a result of to incendiary balloons released from the Gaza side. The paper also noted that a journalist, identified as Ismail al-Ghoul, was wounded in the leg by a live bullet in eastern Gaza City.
The Great March of Return protests were launched on March 30, 2018 by tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza ― which has been blockaded by Israel for more than a decade ― who joined demonstrations along the border demanding their right to return to their homes now in present-day Israel. As of last Friday, the number of fatalities from Israel’s repression of these demonstrators has reached 176; more than 16,000 others have been wounded or otherwise injured by Israeli fire.
Friday Protest at Kfar Qaddum in the Northern West Bank
A Palestinian photojournalist was shot and wounded by Israeli forces and dozens of others were injured from tear-gas inhalation during the weekly anti-settlement march in the Kafr Qaddum village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, on Friday, September 14.
Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in Kafr Qaddum, Murad Ishteiwi, said that Israeli forces raided the village, went up rooftops of houses and fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas grenades at protesters taking part in the march.
Ishteiwi confirmed that at a Palestinian photojournalist, who was identified as Nidal Shtayeh, was shot and wounded in the chest after Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets at him. Shtayeh was shot as he was covering the story at Kafr Qaddum as part of his work for a Chinese news agency. Shtayeh was transferred to a hospital for treatment; however, his condition remained unknown. Ishteiwi mentioned that Israeli forces also targeted and damaged a Palestine TV camera with a rubber-coated steel bullet.
Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests against Israeli land confiscations in 2011, as well as against the closure of the village’s southern entrance by Israeli forces. The road emanating from there, which has been closed to the village’s residents for 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.