Six Palestinian journalists were shot and wounded by the Israeli army during clashes Friday between demonstrators and troops on the Gaza border, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said.
The union said the six were shot despite wearing clothes clearly identifying themselves as journalists, adding it held Israel “fully accountable for this crime.”
None of the injuries were life threatening, but the union called for those responsible to be held accountable.
An Israeli army spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the statement.
The Gaza Center for Media Freedom, which defends Palestinian journalists, called on the international community to intervene to protect its journalists.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border on Friday, burning tires and throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and live fire, the army and witnesses said, as Palestinians held a second “March of Return” protest.
Hamas said seven Gazans were killed by Israeli fire. The IDF said it thwarted multiple efforts to breach the border fence — and that it used live fire to do so in some instances — as well as attempts to activate bombs against the troops under the cover of smoke.
Palestinians burned tires, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air; others threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli soldiers over the border fence, who responded with tear gas and live fire, witnesses said.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said hundreds of people were wounded on Friday, including 293 by live fire. It said 25 of those wounded were in serious condition. Among those hurt were 12 women and 48 minors, the ministry added.
Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Hamas organizers were trying to use protesters as a diversion to “open up the fence and then to insert terrorists into Israel.” Conricus said snipers were used “sparingly” and only against those that pose a “significant threat.”
Friday’s demonstration was the second of what Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group said would be several weeks of “March of Return” protests which Hamas leaders say ultimately aim to see the removal of the border and the liberation of Palestine.
Israel accused Hamas of trying to carry out border attacks under the cover of the large protests and said it will prevent a breach of the fence at all costs.