Friday, April 13, 2018

More than 10,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border to continue the Great March of Return for the 3d consecutive Friday. A number of protesters throw explosives and Molotov cocktails toward the border fence. IDF troops violently disperse the demonstrations near Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Rafah, Bayt Hanun, and Jabaliya refugee camp; 1 Palestinian is killed and at least 200 are injured. The protester killed today brings the death toll stemming from the Great March of Return to 30. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp and late at night near Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Friday protests near Ramallah, Nablus, al-Bireh, Qalqilya, and Hebron; at least 12 Palestinians are injured. They also issue an arrest summons during a raid near Bethlehem, and patrol near Qalqilya and Hebron. Israeli settlers break into a mosque near Nablus overnight and set fire to the interior, causing moderate damage. A separate group of settlers damages 7 Palestinian olive trees near Nablus. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 7 Palestinians during a raid in the Old City. (EI, HA, JP, MNA, NYT, PNN, WAFA, YA 4/13; MNA 4/ 14; PCHR 4/19)

The Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing in both directions for the 2d of 3 planned days. (OCHA 4/27)

Israeli DM Lieberman says that the decreasing attendance at the Friday protests along Gaza’s border over the past 2 weeks show that Israel’s “determination” has had an effect. “Each week there are fewer rioters on our border with Gaza. Our determination is well understood on the other side,” he says. (TOI 4/13)

U.S., UK, and French forces conduct air strikes on Syrian government research, storage, and military targets near Homs and in Damascus, fulfilling U.S. president Trump’s pledge to retaliate for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on 4/7. (AP, BBC, NYT 4/13)