For the third week in a row, Palestinians staged violent, smoke-filled riots along the Gaza border, guided by the day’s theme of burning Israeli flags.
Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip remained the site of unruly demonstrations by Palestinians, directed by the Hamas terrorist organization that has ruled the coastal enclave for the past decade.
According to the IDF, Palestinians attempted to breach Israel’s border fence using explosives and Molotov cocktails.
“The IDF will not allow damage to the security and fence infrastructures that protect Israeli citizens and will act against violent rioters and terrorists involved,” said the IDF statement.
In the run up to Friday’s riots, Palestinians used hashtags such as #BurningFlag and #RaisingFlag on social media to encourage mass burning of Israeli flags. While the rioting has been portrayed as a peaceful “Great March of Return,” a large number of the protesters that have been killed have been identified by Hamas itself as military operatives and members of the terrorist organization.
Organizers have used fiery rhetoric to incite Gazans, who exist under Hamas’ totalitarian Islamic regime. In a recent video, Hamas leader Yehia al-Sinwar declared, “We will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.”
Israel’s response on the ground since the riots began in March has remained consistent, warning rioters who approach the fence that attempts to breach the barrier will not be tolerated.
Hamas has attempted to use footage of the IDF protecting the border to smear Israeli forces.
The violent clashes continued on Friday, with an IDF spokesperson denying Hebrew media reports that a Palestinian mob had attempted to breach the border.