In two separate incidents early on Friday, one Gazan was killed and another injured by IDF fire as they approached the security fence. The IDF is on high-alert after Hamas called for mass protests along the fence for Land Day, the annual day commemorating violent riots in 1973 held in response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate land. Hamas called for the protest to continue until Nakba day, May 15, which is not only the day after the Gregorian calendar’s date for Israeli Independence Day but also Nakba (catastrophe) Day when Palestinians commemorate the “tragedy” of the establishment of Israel.
In the early morning hours, IDF tanks fired at two men after they approached the security fence from the southern Gaza side. One man was killed. Several hours later, the IDF opened fire at two men in Northern Gaza as they tampered with the security fence. One man was reported injured.
In addition to those incidents, approximately 200 Palestinians took part in violent protests at four main locations along the security fence, lighting fires and throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers on the other side. Palestinian sources reported that five men were shot in these incidents.
The border is on high alert after four successful infiltrations by terrorists from Gaza into Israel this week. The most serious event took place on Tuesday when three terrorists armed with knives and grenades succeeded in penetrating 12 miles into Israel.
Over the past month, four improvised explosive devices (IED) were placed on the security fence. It is believed the devices were placed while groups of protesting civilians were used as a distraction. Four IDF soldiers were injured in the most serious incident.
“Our mission is one, to prevent a mass crossing of the fence, mass disorder and, mainly, to allow residents of the surrounding [Israeli communities] to live quietly,” IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said Thursday.