Death toll in massive Palestinian protests climbs to at least 37, bloodiest day in Gaza since 2014 war

Posted on: May 14th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — At least 37 people have been killed by the Israeli military and more than 1,000 injured in Palestinian protests today along the Gaza border as the U.S. officially moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The deaths come as tens of thousands of Palestinians amass at the border, far more than in other recent demonstrations there.

The crowds had swelled to an estimated 30,000 by 2:30 p.m., 90 minutes before the new U.S. embassy was slated to officially open in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem. Protests on previous days have tended to increase after the 2:30 p.m. call to prayer.

Protesters were already gathering on the Gaza fence by 1 p.m. Estimates from journalists on the ground were of about 10,000 protesters by that time.

A 21-year-old and a 29-year-old were among the first killed by Israeli soldiers, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. In the last seven weeks, more than 50 Palestinians have been killed in protests along the Gaza border, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Monday marked the bloodiest day in Gaza since the end of the 2014 Israeli-Palestinian war, officials said.

President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, setting off protests by Palestinians who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Both Israelis and Palestinians consider Jerusalem the holiest site of their respective religions.

The opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. For Palestinian, the date marks the anniversary of “naqba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of people fled or were forced from their homes during the war surrounding the event.

President Trump did not make the trip to Israel for the official opening, but sent daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner in his place. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also made the trip.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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