On Friday, Jan. 11, 13,000 Gazans rioted at Israel’s border for the tenth straight month. The riots take place every Friday, and include burning tires, hurled rocks, incendiary devices and repeated efforts to breach Israel’s border.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, three Gazans breached the northern part of Israel’s border fence. IDF troops responded with gunfire, and the three then retreated back into Gaza.
In response to the increased violence at this week’s protest, two Hamas military posts were targeted by the Israeli Air Force, and crowd dispersal measures were used, including live gunfire.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported the death of a 43 year old woman during Friday’s riots.
The weekly riots are called for by Hamas, the terrorist organization government in control of the Gaza Strip, and are known as the “March of Return Protests.” The riots were first ordered by Hamas ostensibly to protest the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.
The rioters include women and children as well as men. Participation in the riots are considered a badge of honor. Several months ago a groom dressed in his wedding attire visited the front lines on his wedding day to gain honor and to “bless” his impending marriage.
On Friday afternoon, U.S. Envoy to the Middle East Jason D. Greenblatt blamed the violence squarely on Hamas: “Hamas’ instigation of violence along the Israel/Gaza border is putting lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, at risk. Hamas’ cynical use of Gaza’s citizens needs to stop. Hamas will continue to drive Gaza backward with this type of activity.”
An Israel Defense Forces soldier was struck by a rock and was taken to hospital for medical treatment.