GAZA – Two Palestinian protesters were shot dead by the Israeli army on Tuesday in Gaza, the Palestinian medical sources confirmed, while thousands of Palestinians attended the funerals for some 25 of the 60 protesters killed a day earlier by the Israeli army during mass demonstrations.
Palestinian authorities declared Tuesday a day of mourning, and protests were much smaller along the Gaza-Israel boundary to mark the 70th anniversary of the Day of Catastrophe (“Nakba” in Arabic), after scores were killed and over 2,700 wounded during Monday’s protests against the United States embassy’s transfer to Jerusalem.
Among those buried in Gaza was an eight-month-old baby girl, Laila al-Ghandour, who died Monday after inhaling tear gas during the protests, in which over 35,000 people took part, according to the Israeli army.
Al-Ghandour’s grandmother told EFE: “We come (to the protests) every Friday, we don’t miss them.”
“They (Laila’s mother and father) got too close and inhaled the gas. The girl suffocated and died on the way to the hospital,” she added.
The baby girl’s relatives were seen mourning while holding her body, as documented by an epa-efe journalist.
Since the Great March of Return protests began March 30, at least 112 Palestinians have been killed and 12,000 others injured, including Tuesday’s causality.
Palestinians staged a general strike on Tuesday across Gaza, the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem, closing schools, universities, shops and banks, while hundreds demonstrated at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank.
The Day of Catastrophe is marked each year on May 15, the day following Israel’s Independence Day, to commemorate the mass expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians both before and after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
The UN estimates that, of the Gaza Strip’s nearly 2 million inhabitants, two out of every three are refugees or their descendants.