Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, three teenage boys were among the dead and more than 40 others were shot by Israeli troops, as tens of thousands of Palestinians marked the first anniversary of the Great March of Return. Israeli troops used tear-gas and live rounds against protesters.
Egypt had sought to mediate between the Israeli government and Hamas in an effort to limit the high numbers of casualties from previous demonstrations. Hamas officials said they had agreed to prevent protesters approaching the fence. In exchange, Israel would not fire on people who remained far from the fence.
The first fatality was 20-year-old Muhammad Sa’ad, who was killed by shrapnel from Israeli fire in protests before the main demonstration. Two 17-year-olds boys were shot dead later in the day, and another 17-year-old succumbed to wounds and died later.
Around 2 million people live in Gaza, which faces a severe humanitarian crisis. For a year, as part of the Great March of Return, Palestinians have been protesting for an end to the blockade on Gaza and for recognition of their right to return home. The Great March of Return began March 30th 2018.