The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) are bracing for an expected 100,000 protesters at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel on the same day the US fulfills its controversial promise to recognise the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv.
The death toll in Monday’s clashes on the Gaza border has risen to seven, according to the Health Ministry, while other reports say the number killed is at least 18.
Hamas, the militant group that rules the Strip, has urged supporters to break through the barriers, and it is feared Monday’s protests could see mass casualties.
The order given to Israeli soldiers is to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel at any price, including direct live fire. Israel has also warned Hamas that any mass breakthrough will result in air strikes on the group’s infrastructure inside the Strip.
The border unrest is the culmination of a weeks-long campaign from Hamas in the run up to the embassy move and the Nakba, or ‘Catastrophe’, on Tuesday – celebrated in Israel as the country’s 70th birthday.