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Nakba day leads to violence in Gaza and the West Bank

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Two Palestinians were killed and more than a hundred injured yesterday as violence continued on the Gaza border, but on a much smaller scale than Monday. Israeli officials feared that “Nakba” day, when Palestinians commemorate the establishment of Israel, would see a greater intensity of violence.

Funerals were held across Gaza for those killed on Monday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet concluded so far that 24 of the 61 Palestinians killed in the riots were known activists affiliated either with Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The border between Israel and Gaza was relatively quiet and some of the tents had been removed until about 2pm, when buses carrying protestors arrived at the border. They proceeded to set tyres on fire and launch kites with firebombs attached towards Israel. During the course of the afternoon the IDF arrested several people attempting to breach the border fence and enter Israel.

In a statement, the IDF said: “4,000 rioters participated in riots at five locations. The rioters hurled firebombs at IDF soldiers and at the security fence, and burned tyres out of an intention to ignite fires in Israeli territory and harm IDF soldiers. IDF troops responded with riot dispersal means and fired live rounds selectively, and operated according to standard operating procedures.”

There was also a small level of violence in the West Bank, where 1,300 people rioted at 14 locations including in Hebron, near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, outside Ramallah, at the Qalandiya checkpoint and in the Nablus area. The IDF said that “the rioters hurled rocks and firebombs at security forces”.

The humanitarian crossing into Gaza at Kerem Shalom has been attacked three times in the last week but yesterday Israel attempted to renew the supply of humanitarian add to the Gaza Strip. However, the Times of Israel reports that Gaza officials refused to allow trucks with goods in.

In a statement, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said:  “The humanitarian aid includes medical equipment such as fluids, bandages, equipment for treating children, disinfectants, auxiliary equipment as well as fuel that will be distributed in the future. 53 tons of medical equipment was transferred to the Gaza Strip this week.”