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Israeli defense minister claims there are 'no innocent people' in Gaza


Last Friday was the bloodiest day of violence in Gaza since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls the 140-square mile stretch of territory.

During the second round of protests on Friday, Palestinians burned tyres along the Gaza border to protect themselves from Israeli sniper and tank fire.

Ashraf Abu Amra, a freelance journalist who spoke to Reuters, said that he and Murtaja were standing by each other filming tires being set on fire when Israeli forces opened fire.

Hamas says it hopes the mass protests can create pressure to break a border blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007, without having to succumb to demands that it disarm. "I have two kids, a boy and a girl, and if I die, God will take care of them".

Thaer Mohammad Rabaa, 30, from Jabalia town in northern Gaza Strip, was announced dead of his wounds on Friday morning.

An Israeli military spokesman defended the rules of engagement.

The IDF said it thwarted multiple efforts on Friday to breach the border fence - and that it used live fire to do so in some instances - as well as attempts to activate bombs against the troops under the cover of smoke from the protests.

However Hamas' prime Gaza official, Yehiyeh Sinwar, made a shock go to to one of many protests and appeared to subject a brand new menace. The violent demonstrations have also featured firebomb attacks and the use of burning tires to block Israeli security personnel.

Hamas' Gaza leader, Yehya Al-Sinwar, spoke at a protest encampment to praise those who turned out to confront the "enemy who besieges us". "Anticipate our nice transfer, once we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa", referring to the key Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.

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Photo taken from the Nahal Oz kibbutz in southern Israel shows soldiers using tear gas and live ammunition as Palestinians burn tires during a protest on the Israel-Gaza boundary on 6 April.

Israel accuses, the Islamist group that runs the, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Gaza's Hamas rulers, who're orchestrating the demonstrations, say the protests are towards a decade-old border blockade by Israel.

Over the week now, 29 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Others launched stones with slingshots.

At one point on Friday, Israeli forces fired tear gas inside the encampment, briefly sending people fleeing.

The United Nations and the European Union have called for independent investigations into the shootings.

The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Israeli army sources as saying on Saturday that they would react forcefully if the alleged attempts to damage the fence continued.

Palestinians commemorate May 15 as their "nakba", or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were uprooted from homes in what is now Israel.

This story was written by Reuters.

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