Gaza braces for new protests | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 06, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, April 06, 2018

Gaza braces for new protests

Israel says open-fire rules won't change

Palestinians yesterday readied for new protests along the Gaza border and Israel warned that its open-fire rules would not change as fears of fresh violence rose a week after the bloodiest day in years.

Thousands of Palestinians are again expected to gather at five spots near the Gaza border today, while Israeli soldiers and snipers will take up positions on the other side of the fence.

Protest organisers said they were planning to try to stop smaller numbers of protesters approaching the fence and hurling stones or rolling burning tyres at Israeli troops, who killed 18 Palestinians last Friday.

It was the bloodiest day since a 2014 war. Another two Gazans have been killed since.

But widespread social media calls for protesters to bring tyres to burn and Israel's pledge to prevent damage to the fence and infiltration attempts have raised fears of more deaths.

Young Palestinians have been gathering tyres and carting them near the border to burn and create a smokescreen to make it harder for Israeli snipers. Some have been walking the streets collecting money to buy tyres.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed that open-fire rules would not change.

"If there are provocations, there will be a reaction of the harshest kind like last week," Lieberman told public radio.

"We do not intend to change the rules of engagement."

Last Friday's protest near the Gaza border was attended by tens of thousands of Palestinians.

An Israeli rights group yesterday launched a prominent campaign calling on soldiers to refuse to fire on unarmed Palestinians.

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