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Tensions high along Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians call for 'Friday of Fire'

Tensions on both sides of the Gaza-Israel border are high as Palestinians in Gaza call for a "Friday of Fire."...

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 9:57 AM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 9:57 AM

Tensions on both sides of the Gaza-Israel border are high as Palestinians in Gaza call for a "Friday of Fire."

Israel will not change its rules of engagement ahead of the "March of Return" planned for Friday in Gaza.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned those who do not abide by the rules "will be shot," speaking on Israeli Army Radio late Wednesday.

Palestinians are bracing for potential violence; Israel also expects more violence on Friday.

"It is going to be another bloody weekend," Israel's former counterterrorism chief Brigadier General (Reserve) Nitzan Nuriel told reporters. "We have Hamas who are armed trying to push it a bit more than we can accept." He reiterated that the border is a red line. "Those who will be close to the fence, we will see them as a target," Nuriel said. "They should demonstrate without crossing those red lines. If they do, the price will be very high." Israel blames Hamas and Islamic Jihad for the violence, and warned it will strike deep inside Gaza if provoked.

Thousands of tires have been readied to set alight on the Gaza side of the border in order to create curtains of black smoke and obscure the sights of Israeli snipers.

Since Wednesday morning, bulldozers have been constructing dirt berms at a location near the border.

Gazans at the temporary northern Abu Safia tent camp built last weekend say it's to protect protesters.

"Friday of Fire," as it's been dubbed, will be the second in a sequence of marches planned to continue through mid-May.

The goal of the marches, Palestinians say, is to cross the border fence and return to their lands that became Israel seven decades ago.

Last Friday's march on the fence ended in violent confrontations, in what was the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 Gaza Israel war. Seventeen Palestinians were killed, and another two succumbed to their injuries a few days later. Israeli forces fired on marchers it said participated in violence.

Significantly smaller scale confrontations continued through the week, resulting in numerous incidents on land and extending to the sea. Israeli naval forces shot at a Palestinian fishing boat to force it into the "designated (6 mile) fishing zone," according to an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) statement. Three fishermen were moderately injured, said the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

Other deadly incidents took place during the week, bringing the total death toll in one week to 20.

A Palestinian died following an overnight Israeli air strike Wednesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported. The IDF said it targeted an "armed terrorist adjacent to the security fence" in northern Gaza.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for the events in Gaza, and says most of those killed are "known terror activists" from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Palestinians and human rights organizations accuse Israel of using excessive and illegal force on what they described as peaceful protesters.

Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem launched a campaign called "Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot" urging Israeli soldiers to refuse to shoot protesters. The organization says it is taking this step after "soldiers used live fire against unarmed demonstrators," which it says is illegal.

The Israeli defense minister called the organization a group of "fifth columnists."

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, urged Israeli forces and Palestinians to exercise restraint, saying "demonstrations and protests must be allowed to proceed in a peaceful manner. Civilians, particularly children, must not be intentionally put in danger or targeted in any way."

Palestinian activists and the IDF continue to post social media videos to support their opposing claims about last week's violent events.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 503322

Reported Deaths: 10057
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34400541
DeSoto32318411
Hinds32074631
Jackson24551386
Rankin22103391
Lee15657235
Madison14662281
Jones13894243
Forrest13506253
Lauderdale12037318
Lowndes11091192
Lamar10531138
Pearl River9557238
Lafayette8581140
Hancock7751130
Washington7458161
Oktibbeha7152133
Monroe6796178
Warren6752176
Pontotoc6736104
Neshoba6656206
Panola6572131
Marshall6494135
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Union607794
Pike5849154
Alcorn5691102
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George502979
Scott474198
Tippah472481
Prentiss471582
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Itawamba4651105
Tate4632111
Adams4617120
Copiah450092
Simpson4458116
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Attala335290
Winston315391
Clay309077
Chickasaw302367
Clarke295894
Calhoun279947
Holmes268788
Smith266550
Yalobusha237247
Tallahatchie228752
Greene220649
Walthall219364
Lawrence213640
Perry206456
Amite206056
Webster203446
Noxubee186940
Montgomery179757
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169639
Tunica160139
Benton149439
Kemper142141
Choctaw134627
Claiborne132838
Humphreys129738
Franklin120728
Quitman106828
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson95934
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 821255

Reported Deaths: 15424
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1149051930
Mobile726651340
Madison52400699
Shelby37685350
Baldwin37285552
Tuscaloosa35147613
Montgomery34130740
Lee23556246
Calhoun22255490
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Limestone15402199
Elmore15292286
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DeKalb12670261
Walker11255370
Blount10227176
Autauga10061148
Jackson9909185
Coffee9215191
Dale8912186
Colbert8907201
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Escambia6782134
Covington6724183
Chilton6658162
Russell637659
Franklin5992105
Chambers5615142
Marion5016127
Dallas5013202
Pike4799106
Clarke477284
Geneva4577127
Winston4538103
Lawrence4352117
Bibb425686
Barbour358376
Marengo338390
Monroe332064
Randolph330264
Butler328596
Pickens317384
Henry313166
Hale311988
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Fayette294580
Washington251651
Cleburne247960
Clay245568
Crenshaw245475
Macon235563
Lamar225747
Conecuh186654
Coosa180940
Lowndes175764
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