Thousands Palestinians were shot at by IDF troops along the Gaza Strip on Good Friday, in a situation the UN has warned could “deteriorate further” in the coming days.
The IDF estimates that around 17,000 Palestinians protesting in five locations along the fence were met with riot dispersal measures by Israeli forces.
At least 17 Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured, Gaza medical officials said.
“Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights and humanitarian law. Lethal force should only be used as a last resort with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities,” UN deputy political affairs chief Taye-Brook Zerihoun said.
Earlier on Friday, before the main protests began, a Palestinian farmer was killed by Israeli tank fire near the border.
The Israeli military said the tank fire came after “two suspects approached the security fence … and began operating suspiciously.”
The march kicks off up to six weeks of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return,” in the runup to the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem around May 14.
“There is no alternative to Palestine and no solution except to return,” he said in a statement, referring to Palestinian refugees seeking to go back to land they fled or were expelled from in 1948 that is now inside Israel.
Israel has accused Hamas of seeking to stir up protests to encourage violence.
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