TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Palestinians buried the dead on Tuesday from the bloodiest day in Gaza in years, after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border during demonstrations against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem (al-Quds).
Israeli forces shot dead two more Palestinians on Tuesday, although protests were quieter than the previous day, Reuters reported.
It appeared that many protesters had gone to mourning tents rather than back to the scene of Monday’s bloodshed. Mourners marched through the strip, waving Palestinian flags and calling for revenge.
“With souls and blood we redeem you, martyrs," they shouted.
Hundreds marched in the funeral of eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour, whose body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.
“Let her stay with me, it is too early for her to go,” her mother cried, pressing the baby’s body to her chest. The family said she died of inhaling tear gas.
At Gaza’s hospitals, families crowded the halls and spilled out of rooms as patients awaited treatment. Bassem Ibrahim, who was shot in the leg by Israeli troops, said at one stage he had feared losing the limb because of the delays.
“There are not many doctors. They are unable to see everyone, with all the injuries,” said Ibrahim, 23. “The number was unbelievable and they did not have time.”
On the occupied side of the border, Israeli sharpshooters took up positions to stop any attempted breach of the fence should demonstrations break out again. Tanks were also deployed.
But if the violence tapered off, it still had a forceful impact internationally, with countries criticizing both the Israeli use of deadly force and the US decision to open its new embassy at a ceremony attended by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador, and Israel expelled the Turkish consul-general in Jerusalem. President Tayyip Erdogan exchanged heated words on Twitter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinians summoned home their representative in Washington, citing the embassy decision.
The United States echoed that charge, with State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert saying the United States regretted all loss of life but blaming “the misery that is faced by people in Gaza” on Hamas.
For six weeks, Palestinians have been holding Gaza border demonstrations demanding access to family land or homes lost to Israel when it was founded in the 1948 Middle East war.
Palestinian medical officials say 107 Gazans have now been killed since the start of the protests and nearly 11,000 people wounded, about 3,500 of them by live fire. Israeli officials dispute those numbers. No Israeli casualties have been reported.
Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.
The United Nations Security Council met to discuss the situation.
May 15 is traditionally the day Palestinians mark the “Nakba”, or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were driven from their homes in violence culminating in war between Israel and its Arab neighbors in 1948.
More than 2 million people are crammed into the Gaza Strip, more than two-thirds of them refugees.
In Geneva, the UN human rights office condemned the “appalling deadly violence” by Israeli forces.
Most Gaza protesters stay around tent camps but groups have ventured closer to the border fence, rolling burning tires and throwing stones. Some have flown kites carrying containers of petrol that spread fires on the occupied side.
On Tuesday the number of protesters gathered at the frontier was estimated by the Israeli army at 4,000, well down on Monday.
Monday’s protests were fueled by the opening ceremony for the new US Embassy in Jerusalem following its relocation from Tel Aviv.