JERUSALEM — At least 50 Gazan Palestinians have been killed at the border with Israel, where tens of thousands have gathered for protests in the hours before the dedication of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
About 50,000 Palestinians massed on the border by mid-afternoon on Monday. Several thousand more Palestinian protesters are located more than a quarter of a mile from the border fence in a tent area, the IDF said. There are at least 10 flashpoint areas along the border.
In addition to the dead, more than 1,000 are injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which has reported that one of the dead protesters is 14. The IDF said that it is responding with riot dispersal means and is “operating according to standard operating procedures.”
Protesters in the West Bank also began marching from Ramallah toward the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem, with smaller marches starting out from other West Bank cities such as Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jericho.
The IDF warned that up to 250,000 Palestinian protesters could come to the Gaza border on Monday and breach it, entering Israel.
“The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios. IDF commanders are present in the field and are conducting situation assessments. The IDF will act forcefully against any terrorist activity and will operate to prevent attacks against Israelis,” the military said in a statement that also appeared on Twitter.
“The IDF will act harshly against any terrorist activity and will act to preserve Israeli sovereignty and prevent attacks on civilians and soldiers,” the statement said.
In an English-language video posted on social media, the IDF warned: “On Monday May 14th, the Hamas terrorist organization plans to send armed terrorists, among 250,000 violent rioters to swarm and breach Israel’s border with Gaza and enter Israeli communities. Hamas plans to carry out a massacre in Israel. The Israel Defense Forces will not let them.”
Meanwhile, at least five wildfires are burning near Jewish communities in southern Israel, which broke out after kites carrying explosives were flown from Gaza over the border. PJC
This story has been updated to reflect a more recent estimate of the number of protesters who were killed or injured.