The reprisal attack came after troops were shot at by two Gazans approaching the security fence. No Israeli troops were hurt in the exchange, the IDF said.
Gazan sources said at least 12 people were killed and over 1,000 more injured in the fighting. The army said protesters hurled firebombs and stones at troops and burned tires. Many of the injuries came from rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation, though the IDF used live ammunition as well.
The PA Ministry of Information accused Israel of targeting “peaceful” marches with live ammunition and said this was proof of the need to provide international protection for the Palestinians. The ministry praised Palestinians for heeding calls to take part in demonstrations marking the 42nd anniversary of Land Day in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
If they are hungry, the people of the Gaza Strip will “eat the livers of those besieging” the coastal enclave, Sinwar warned, using an Arabic idiom that means to take revenge on someone.
An IDF spokesman referred to the scattered West Bank protests, which attracted some 900 demonstrators, as small scale.
Palestinian media reported Israeli troops firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators near Nablus and Ramallah.
The protests were a small fraction of much larger demonstrations on the Gaza border, where over 30,000 Palestinians massed near the security fence in what was a termed the “March of Return,” encouraged by the Hamas terror group that rules the Strip.