Clashes erupted between pro-Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces in multiple locations along the country’s borders Sunday as tensions flared on a Palestinian mourning day marking the birth of the Jewish state.
Syrian state television said four protesters were killed by Israeli gunfire in the Golan Heights area, where Israeli’s military said dozens were wounded.
At least two people were killed and 20 others were injured in clashes along the border with Lebanon, officials said. And the Israeli military was attempting to push back demonstrators near the Gaza border, where medical sources said at least 65 people had been injured.
“The Syrian regime (was) attempting to divert world attention from their brutal crackdown and to incite violence on the Israel-Syrian border,” she said.
Israel Forces Open Fire as Syrian Demonstrators Cross Border
Bloomberg, May 15
Israeli soldiers opened fire as demonstrators from Syria tried to cross the border, injuring dozens, during the day that Palestinians mark the establishment of the state of Israel with protests.
Israeli soldiers were trying to prevent thousands of demonstrators from entering Israel, the military said in a statement. Israel’s Channel 2 television said four Syrians were killed. The Israeli military said dozens of people were injured.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the country’s border with Syria is tightly controlled by Syria and the crossing was a “calculated move” by the country’s government to distract attention from domestic turmoil.
The violence occurred on the anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe, referring to their displacement in 1948 as a result of the creation of the state of Israel. At least 30 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were injured today when Israeli tanks fired shells near demonstrators marching toward the border fence with Israel, Gaza medical official Adham Abu Selmaya told reporters.
“Today’s incident was an incitement by Palestinians and I doubt the Syrians will allow it to escalate further,” said Shlomo Brom, a retired general and senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.
Deaths at Syria-Lebanon-Israel borders
Three killed as thousands flee violent crackdown in Syrian town, while four others shot and killed near Israeli border.
Al Jazeera, May 15
Three people have been shot dead and at least five others, including a Lebanese soldier, have been injured following gunfire near an unofficial border crossing between Syria and northern Lebanon.
They were targeted by snipers as they left a sit-in protest in the western Syrian town of Talkalakh on Sunday, a witness told the AFP news agency.
Syrian troops arrived in the town, just 5km from the Lebanese town of Wadi Khaled, on Saturday, prompting thousands to flee a violent crackdown that left killed four residents of the town dead – a day after a protest there against the government of president Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces shot dead four Syrians who were taking part in a pro-Palestinian protest on the Syrian side of the border with the occupied Golan Heights, Syrian state TV reported. The protest was to commemorate the “Nakba”, a day Palestinians call the “catastrophe” – the anniversary of Israel’s creation.
As many as 300 people from the Syrian village of Majdal Shams overwhelmed border patrols and breached part of the frontier, an eyewitness told Al Jazeera.