Israeli army amasses ‘large forces’ on Gaza border ahead of protests

Tel Aviv (dpa) – The Israeli army said Thursday that it has stationed”large forces” along the Gaza border ahead of Palestinian protests planned for Friday.
“The [army] prepared in advance with large forces and is ready for various scenarios in preparation for the planned disturbances along the Gaza Strip fence,” the military said in a statement.
“We will not allow any violation of Israeli sovereignty or defence infrastructure on the fence,” it added.
The protests are largely commanded by Hamas. They began on March 30 and peaked on May 14 – the same day that the United States moved its embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem.
During the demonstrations, thousands of Palestinians gather hundredsof metres from the Israeli border fence, while smaller groups of mostly young men throw rocks, burn tyres and attempt to tear down parts of the fence.
The Israeli army responds with tear gas and shoots Palestinians who approach the border fence.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 123 people have been killed and thousands injured during the protests. The Israeli army says the casualty number given by the Health Ministry includes militants who were carrying out attacks.
“We tried water cannons, we tried tear gas, we tried all sorts of other devices and none has worked against this kind of tactic,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an attempt to justify Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinians.