At least 17 Palestinians, including 10 children, have been wounded in an incident where Israeli soldiers shot live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip.
On Saturday, Palestinians held a protest rally along the border separating Gaza from the occupied territories to mark an arson attack that torched part of the al-Aqsa Mosque more than half a century ago.
Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters and began firing live ammunition against them.
“Twenty-four civilians were injured, including 10 children,” the Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement.
“Two of the injuries are critical, one of whom is a 13-year-old boy, who was hit in the head east of Gaza City.”
On August 21, 1969, the mosque was set on fire by an Australian settler named Dennis Michael Rohan in coordination with Israeli officials and military forces. The fire gutted the southeastern wing of the mosque.
Earlier, the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas had called a protest Saturday to mark the arson attack on the mosque, which is the third-holiest site in Islam.
“Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line, and any attack on it will face the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people, and they will not allow any fire to reach this mosque again,” the movement said in a statement.
Back on May 10, the Israeli military launched a brutal bombing campaign against Gaza, following Palestinian retaliation for violent raids on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East al-Quds.
About 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli bombardment, including dozens of women and children.
In response, Palestinian resistance movements, chief among them Hamas, launched Operation al-Quds Sword and fired more than 4,000 rockets and missiles into the occupied territories. Twelve Israelis were killed.
Apparently caught off guard by the unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.