Israeli occupation forces have killed 33 peaceful Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and wounded 4,279 others in the three weeks since the start of the “Great March of Return” demonstrations on 30 March, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said yesterday.
In a statement, the ministry said three out of the 33 protesters killed were children. It also said that 642 of the wounded are children and 243 are women.
According to the statement, 1,539 of the wounded were targeted with live ammunition, 388 with rubber-coated steel bullets.
The statement also said that 134 of the wounded arrived in hospitals in critical conditions, 1,183 with moderate injuries and 2,962 with light wounds.
It stated that 196 of the unarmed protesters were shot in the neck and head, 384 in the upper parts of their bodies, 96 in the back and chest, 116 in their upper abdominal area, 1,496 in the lower parts of their bodies and 113 in other locations.
The ministry accused the Israeli occupation of deliberately targeting journalists and medics as one journalist was killed, 66 journalists and 44 medics were wounded and 19 ambulances were targeted.
Meanwhile, the ministry of education said 84 students were among the wounded, including seven who are in critical conditions, 57 suffering moderate wounds and 20 suffered light injuries.
It is worth mentioning that this number did not include an elderly farmer and two youths who were killed by the Israeli forces prior to the official launch of the demonstrations after the Friday prayer on 30 March.
Several Palestinian and international bodies and rights groups, including the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli rights group B’Tselem reiterated that the Israeli occupation forces have been using lethal force to deter unarmed and peaceful protesters.
On 30 March, thousands of Palestinians in Gaza started peaceful protests near the eastern borders of the coastal enclave, which separates Gaza from Israel, to mark the 42nd anniversary of Palestinian Land Day. This year’s protests are set to continue until 15 May to mark 70 years since the Nakba and the forceful expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians to make way for the formation of the state of Israel.