At least 56 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank and Gaza on Friday as they protested in a fresh “day of rage” over U.S. President Donald Trump‘s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Israeli forces also hit the Gaza Strip with tank fire and air strikes after rockets from the Palestinian enclave targeted a southern community, the army and Palestinian sources said.
Israeli troops opened fire during clashes in several parts of the coastal territory, wounding 40 people, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said. Four were in a serious condition.
The Israeli army said 2,000 protestors had thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers on the Israeli side of a barrier with the Palestinian territory.
In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 16 people were wounded when Israeli troops fired live bullets during demonstrations, while others were hit with rubber-coated rounds.
The Israeli military said about 500 demonstrators had burned tyres and thrown Molotov cocktails and stones at its forces in 30 different parts of the West Bank.
Israel also carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants fired three rockets at southern Israel, two of which were intercepted by the “Iron Dome” aerial defence system, the army said.
Police said the third rocket hit a structure in a community near Gaza, causing damage but no casualties.
“In response to the rockets fired towards Israel, IDF (Israel Defence Forces) tanks and IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft targeted two posts belonging to the terrorist organisation Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement.
Witnesses said Israeli tanks shelled a position controlled by Gaza’s Islamist rulers east of Gaza City.
A spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry said nobody was injured by the Israeli fire.
Both Hamas and fellow militant group Islamic Jihad had labelled Friday a “day of rage”, as in previous weeks.
Militants in Gaza have fired more than a dozen rockets or mortar rounds at southern Israel in the latest wave of violence, which erupted after Trump’s decision.
Before Friday, the last rockets fired from Gaza were on December 18, one of which hit a home in a border town.
Mr. Trump’s December 6 announcement was followed by protests across the West Bank and on Gaza’s border with Israel, with 12 Gazans killed in clashes with Israeli forces on the border or by Israeli strikes following rocket fire.
The rockets are often fired by fringe Islamist groups but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from the territory.