A second mass protest along the Gaza border began Friday morning. At least 15,000 protesters gathered in several locations along the security fence burning tires in an attempt to create a “smokescreen” against IDF troops. Gaza has reported nine people dead and dozens injured in the clashes.

Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

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Thousands of Palestinians have gathered along the Gaza border fence on Friday in a renewed “March of Return” protest. At least nine Palestinians were killed and dozens njured in the clashes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Among them were reportedly a 16-year-old teenager and a journalist with a local media outlet.

As part of the demonstrations, dubbed by Hamas as “Tire Friday,” rioters burnt hundreds of tires that shrouded several areas of the border with smoke and threw Molotov cocktails and other explosives towards the fence. To counter the smoke generated by the tires, the IDF deployed fire trucks and giant fans along the border.

Gaza border, Friday morning

Gaza border, Friday morning Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90

IDF forces responded to the protests with tear gas and riot-control methods and in several cases with live fire. “Since this morning, hundreds of Palestinians have been rioting in five locations along the Gaza-Israel border,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement on Friday. “IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means and fire in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

Some 15,000 Palestinians arrived at the second mass protest at the border, compared to some 30,000 last week. The IDF has declared the area a closed military zone since the morning hours.  “The IDF will not allow any breach of security infrastructure or the security fence, which protects Israeli civilians,” the military said. “The IDF will act against those who are involved in these attacks.”

A total of about 17 Palestinians died in confrontations with the IDF last week. The IDF stressed that the people who were shot had approached the security fence and were threatening the soldiers on the other side of the border. In addition, the Israeli military clarified that at least 11 of the Palestinians who were killed were known terrorists.