Updated: March 5, 2021
Israeli army forces on Monday killed 41 Palestinian protesters, the Gaza Health Ministry said, as tens of thousands of Palestinians began protesting the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.
But U.S. President Donald Trump announced last December that he would break with the consensus of America’s allies and decades of tradition by recognizing Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel, and moving the embassy there from Tel Aviv.
The embassy was scheduled to open by 9 am Eastern Time but the protests, which began on March 30 escalated on Monday morning.
The New York Times reported that Israeli soldiers and snipers were using barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory.
The Gaza Health ministry said nearly 1,000 Palestinians have been wounded in the clashes which are taking place along Israel’s border fence with Gaza.
NPR reported that the number of casualties has been steadily rising, as the opening of the American embassy at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) neared.
“A great day for Israel!” President Trump tweeted on Monday.
He also told his followers to watch Fox News for coverage of the embassy’s opening.
More than 35,000 people are protesting along the Gaza border, the Israeli army said.
“The rioters are hurling firebombs & explosive devices, burning tires, throwing rocks, & attempting to ignite fires in Israeli territory,” the army said via Twitter. “IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means and fire, and are operating according to standard operating procedures.”
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