Gaza City(Palestinian Territories): Gazans buried their dead today with calls for “revenge” a day after a major demonstration led to clashes that saw Israeli forces kill 16 Palestinians in the bloodiest day since a 2014 war.
But while anger seethed over yesterday’s events, only several hundred protesters had returned to tents erected at different sites near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel by mid-afternoon to resume demonstrations planned to last six weeks in the blockaded enclave.
Thousands attended funerals for 14 of those killed — two were buried yesterday — with mourners holding Palestinian flags and some chanting “revenge” and firing into the air.
The armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, said that five of those killed were members who were participating “in popular events side-by-side with their people.”
“Where are you, Arabs? Where are you, Muslims?” mourners chanted at one funeral, calling on the Arab and Muslim world to intervene.
A general strike was also being held in both the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
Minor clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians broke out in Hebron, while a small protest was held in Nablus, both in the West Bank.
Israel defended its soldiers’ yesterday’s actions, when troops opened fire on Palestinians who strayed from the main tent city protest — attended by tens of thousands — and approached the heavily fortified fence cutting off the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military says it opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.
It also said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was an attempted shooting attack against soldiers along the border that caused no casualties.
Palestinians accused Israel of using disproportionate force, while human rights groups questioned Israel’s use of live fire.
Unverified videos were being shared online, including one appearing to show a protester being shot while running with a tyre.