As many as 15 Palestinians were killed and hundreds were injured by Israeli rubber bullet and fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday, March 30, as a series of massive protests kicked off along the security fence surrounding the enclave. Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza marched to the Israel border for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes. The Israel Defence Forces estimated that as many as 17,000 Palestinians were taking part in “March of Return”. The Army said the protesters were setting tires on ablaze and throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at IDF troops on the other side of the border. 

Protest mainly erupted in Rafah and Khan Younis in the south, el-Bureij and Gaza City in the center, and Jabalya in the northern portion of the coastal enclave. On Friday morning, a Palestinian farmer was killed by Israeli tank fire near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. In the past, the Israeli officials have reportedly warned Palestinians not to try to breach the security fence during the protests. The protest that began on Friday, over the past few days many Palestinians have been pitched tents near the volatile border with Israel.

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The incident comes just a few hours before a major demonstration celebrating the Land Day, which marks the day, March 30, 1976, in which 6 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during protests over Israeli land confiscations. It also marks the start of six weeks of protests lead by Palestinians which calls for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes, which is now considered as Israel.

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