Palestinians stand on a mound during a night protest held along the Gaza side of the border with Israel: File photo/ Reuters
GAZA-ISRAEL BORDER: Hurling pipe bombs and setting off firecrackers, “Night Disturbance Units” have become a new phenomenon on the Gaza-Israel border in the run-up to the first anniversary of deadly border protests.
Organisers say the intention of the night-time events is to fray the nerves of Israeli military lookouts and to lower morale in Israeli villages along the 30-mile frontier.
With loudspeakers blaring patriotic music into the dark, the dusk-till-dawn demonstrations began small and escalated in recent days, ahead of a massive protest rally expected at sites along the frontier on Saturday.
“We come at night to prove to the occupation that we do not fear your weapons, they should fear us,” said one 20-year-old Gazan undergraduate.
“We burn tyres, hurl stones, make noises using firecrackers. Why should our people suffer alone, they should suffer too,” added the protester, who would not give his name, fearing Israeli reprisals.
Although scores of Gazans attend, the night protests are not as big as in the daytime. In the dark, the demonstrators cannot see far as they face off against Israeli security forces firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
The Palestinian groom, Walid, was preparing his new marital home for his wedding in a few weeks’ time when the family heard the “knock on the roof”. An non-explosive missile had made a hole in the top of the block of flats in Gaza where Walid’s sister, Hiba, and her four children live.
Protesters at the site said he had been taking part in an overnight rally ahead of the main demonstration scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Dozens of Palestinians were seen approaching the border fence east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip at around midday (0900 GMT) before retreating as Israeli troops fired tear gas.
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