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Hamas Leader Vows to Breach Border as Violence Engulfs Gaza-Israel Border

Setting tires on fire, Photo, CBN News

Violence erupted between Israelis and Palestinians on the Gaza border Friday, just a day after Israel celebrated the 70th anniversary of its independence.

Massive clouds of black smoke from burning tires consumed the air as several thousands of Palestinians gathered in tents along the border.

Meanwhile, some protestors charged towards the fence, throwing stones and flying burning kites.

Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinians, killing four and wounding more than 150 others, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. These are the latest deaths in an ongoing campaign by Palestinians to disrupt the border since late March. So far, a total of 32 people have been killed, while more than 1,600 have been wounded.

Israel's decision to shoot protestors has been condemned by many in the international community. However, the Jewish State says it is defending its border against terrorists.

The military has said protestors have tried to destroy the border fence with explosives, firebombs and other means. It has also said snipers only target the "main instigators."

Earlier on Friday, Israeli military aircraft dropped leaflets urging Palestinians to stay away from the border and warning that they endanger their lives if they obey Hamas' directives.

 Hamas, the terror organization that controls Gaza, says the protests are aimed at breaking a border blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel after Israeli troops pulled out of the area in 2005. The marches also call for a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees into Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left or were forced out of Israel during the Israeli-Arab war in 1948.

"We will stay here until we reclaim our lands," Ahmed Nasman, one Gazan protestor, told the Associated Press.  "Every day, we will come here with a new way to resist them," he said, referring to Israel.

The top Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said Friday that people should get ready for throngs of Palestinians to spill across the border. "Our people will outnumber the occupation and force it from our land," he said.
Hamas said the demonstrations will culminate in a mass march on May 15.


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