Above: Palestinian protesters during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City on May 11, 2018.
Times of Israel Staff
The Gaza Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry said Tuesday morning that a baby was among those killed during violent border clashes along the territory’s border with Israel the previous day, bringing the overall death toll in the day’s bloody events to 58.
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The baby died from inhaling tear gas fired at Palestinian protesters, the health ministry said, adding that six minors were slain in border clashes and 1,360 people wounded by gunfire, including 130 in serious or critical condition.
Hebrew-language media, quoting Palestinian sources, reported that 10 of those killed were terror operatives.
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It was by far the deadliest day of cross-border violence since the devastating 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
More than 35,000 Palestinians, encouraged by the Palestinian terror group Hamas, rushed the border in an attempt to carry out attacks on Israeli security forces and also infiltrate Israel.
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Throughout the day, Gaza protesters set tires ablaze, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air, and hurled firebombs and stones toward Israeli troops across the border.
The IDF has said that three of those killed had attempted to plant explosives along the border while in other incidents the IDF responded when Gazans opened fire on them.
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Additionally, Israeli Air Force aircraft targeted five Hamas targets, including a military training facility, in northern Gaza. “The strike was conducted in response to the violent acts carried out by Hamas over the last few hours along the security fence,” the IDF said.
The Israeli military, which has come under international criticism for its use of force against protesters, said Hamas tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence.
Israel’s Shin Bet security services accused Iran of funding Hamas’ protests. The accusation was made following the arrest of a Hamas member caught infiltrating Israel, who told investigators that Hamas was instructing members to cut the fence and steal security cameras so rioters could pull the fences down on Monday.
Israeli forces were gearing up Tuesday for a second straight day of protests and the prospect that they may spread, as Palestinians mark a yearly commemoration of the mass displacement of Palestinian Arabs during the 1948 war with Israel, which they term the “catastrophe,” or Nakba.
Tuesday was expected to be the culmination of seven weeks of protests at the Gaza border fence, with Israeli fears that more than 100,000 Palestinians could take part in widespread demonstrations encouraged by the Hamas terror group.
Similar demonstrations were expected in the West Bank and possibly along the Lebanese border.
As of Tuesday morning, the IDF saids several hundred Palestinians were protesting throughout the West Bank to mark Nakba Day. The main points of friction, the army says, were in Hebron, Ramallah, at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem and at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
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