Despite the Israeli army's claims, Palestinian activists and leaders in the Gaza Strip have maintained that the "March of Return" was organized as a massive non-violent, weeks-long protest advocating for the return of Palestinian refugees to their original homelands in historic Palestine, now present day Israel.
Relatives of Palestinian Hamdan Abu Amshah, who was killed along Israel border with Gaza, mourn during his funeral in Beit Hanoun town, in the northern Gaza Strip March 31, 2018. Gen. Eyal Zamir, in charge of Israel's southern command.
Protests are to culminate in a large border march on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel founding. But some Gazans said they did not care if they died. "I don't want this life".
"The risk of escalation is very real", the French representative said.
The Israeli military reported "rioting" at six places and said it was "firing towards main instigators". People quickly scattered when they saw the drones approaching.
Confrontations further escalated late Friday.
Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
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"Egypt fully supports the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, at the top of which is the right to establish an independent state with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital as well as their right of return", Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement. It says refugees should resettle in a future state the Palestinians seek in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Ostensibly the "Great March of Return" is about demanding the right of return for refugees but it is about much more than that. "Hamas uses this "march" to hide its crimes and practices", he wrote.
The protest that began on Friday, over the past few days many Palestinians have been pitched tents near the volatile border with Israel. "Sadly, Hamas chose to continue their tradition of using innocent civilians as tools of terror".
"Israel is trying to portray this as warfare and a war zone".
Hamas and Abbas traded accusations after the bombing, signaling that any deal on Hamas handing the Gaza government to Abbas is increasingly unlikely.
Palestinians in Gaza gathered in five different locations along the border with Israel, originally positioned about 700 metres away from a highly fortified fence.
In response, the Palestinian Authority declared a national day of mourning.
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Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said he was disappointed the council didn't condemn what he called a "heinous massacre".
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said "the global community must not be deceived" by what he termed "a well-organized and violent terror-gathering" under the banner of a peaceful march.
This year, May 15 is expected to be particularly uproarious.
The opening of the USA embassy, also slated for the anniversary, is expected to add further fuel to protests. It also coincides with the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy fasting month.
The protest also began as Jewish Israelis were to mark the Passover holiday.
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Gaza City's Shifa Hospital received 284 injured people Friday, the majority with bullet injuries, said spokesman Ayman Sahbani. At the same time, a rising number of casualties will likely stoke more border tensions, a scenario Israel hopes to avoid. "No one will help them".