Israel kills Palestinian man as Gaza gears up for ‘Great March of Return’ protests

A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza fence early Saturday, hours ahead of planned mass protests marking the anniversary of the Great March of Return and the Palestinian Land Day.

Mohammed Saad, 20, died after being hit in the head with shrapnel caused by Israeli army fire east of Gaza City, the besieged enclave’s health ministry said.

Protesters at the site said he had been taking part in an overnight rally ahead of the massive demonstrations scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

The major rally is to be held on the first anniversary of the Great March of Return protests, which have been held every week since March 30 last year.

Palestinians want an end to the Israeli occupation of their lands. They also demand the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland.

On the eve of the protests, Israeli soldiers and tanks were deployed near the fence separating the occupied territories from the besieged Gaza Strip.

The reinforcements were deployed on Friday morning. Gaza medical officials said later in the day that Israeli troops shot and wounded 10 Palestinians on the Gaza fence on the day.

PressTV-Israel deploys tanks near Gaza ahead of protests

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened on Thursday that Tel Aviv would wage a broad military campaign on Gaza if needed, after a two-day flare-up of fighting that left several people injured on both sides.

Israeli troops have killed nearly 260 Palestinians since the beginning of the “Great March of Return” protests, and wounded 26,000 others, according to the Gaza health ministry.

A United Nations fact-finding mission found that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.

‘Israel maiming Palestinians deliberately’

A recent report says Israeli snipers deliberately inflict crippling injuries on Palestinian protesters, especially to their lower limbs, in a bid to create a generation on crutches in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israeli snipers have intentionally maimed Palestinians protesting in Gaza over the past year, creating a generation of disabled youth and overwhelming the territory’s already crippled medical system, frontline doctors have told the Middle East Eye.

According to a United Nations inquiry released this month, over 80 percent of the 6,106 protesters wounded in the first nine months of the Great March of Return were shot in the lower limbs.

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