According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 40 Palestinian protesters have been killed so far in the violent clashes with Israeli forces along the coastal enclave’s border. The clashes began this morning ahead of the US embassy move to Jerusalem.

Protesters near the border (archive)

Protesters near the border (archive) Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Some 50,000 Palestinians are protesting in 12 locations along the Gaza border on Monday as part of the massive “Great March of Return” that was organized by Hamas. The protest is expected to grow to include over 60,000 participants in the next few hours, as the opening ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem nears.  

According to Hadashot news, Palestinians are setting fire to piles of tires to create black smoke that will make it harder for the Israeli troops to see terrorists who approach the fence. Meanwhile, flaming kites from Gaza have sparked two fires near Kibbutz Mefalsim and Kibbutz Kfar Aza. 

Watch: Live feed from the Gaza border

Palestinians claim that nearly 1,000 protesters have been injured so far. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has placed the death toll at 40. The number is expected to grow as the violence continues. According to Israeli pundits, what has happened in the past few hours is only the beginning, and the worst is expected to occur during the opening ceremony of the US embassy and tomorrow, which is Nakba Day.

The IDF has confirmed that three armed terrorists who tried to plant an explosive device along the border near Rafah were eliminated by Israeli troops. In addition, Israeli aircraft attacked a Hamas post in Jabalia after terrorists opened fire from it, targeting IDF soldiers on the opposite side of the security fence. No injuries were reported among the Israeli troops.

Gaza border, today

Gaza border, today Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

The IDF is mainly concerned that hundreds of Palestinians could attempt to breach the Gaza security barrier today and if successful, they would terrorize Israeli communities close to the border, start fires and destroy properties. Therefore, the army has distributed leaflets warning Palestinians against participating in violent terrorist acts, such as damaging the security fence and trying to cross into Israel. In addition, IDF soldiers have been instructed to shoot to eliminate any person who attempts to damage or cross the border fence.

On Sunday evening, the IDF released an English-language video about Hamas’s plans for Monday, warning that the terrorist group wants to “carry out a massacre in Israel.”

“On Monday May 14th, the Hamas terrorist organization plans to send armed terrorists, among 250,000 violent rioters to swarm and breach Israel’s border with Gaza and enter Israeli communities,” an IDF spokeswoman said in the video.