|Six civilians injured during protests near the fence
For the second consecutive week, no armed clashes, rocket firing or airstrikes were reported in the Gaza Strip or southern Israel. However, three demonstrations that took place in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA), near the fence separating the Gaza Strip and Israel, evolved into clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces, resulting in the injury of six people.
One of the clashes occurred on 28 March in a protest in the ARA east of Jabalya, against the Israeli-imposed restrictions on the Gaza Strip and Palestinians living there. During the confrontations, demonstrators threw stones at Israeli forces, who fired live ammunition and teargas canisters in response, injuring an 18-year-old Palestinian civilian with live ammunition. Similar clashes took place the previous day near the fence south-east of Beit Hanoun, during a demonstration on the occasion of “Land Day”; five Palestinian civilians were treated for teargas inhalation.
Also during the week, Israeli forces detained two civilians who attempted to cross into Israel, and, on at least two occasions, entered with tanks and bulldozers approximately 200 meters inside Gaza to conduct land-leveling operations.
Additionally, on at least four occasions this week, Israeli naval forces opened warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the Israeli-imposed six-nautical-mile fishing limit; no injuries were reported.
On 26 March, Israeli naval forces opened fire at two boats suspected of smuggling goods near Rafah and attempted to arrest their passengers, injuring two of them. An exchange of fire between Israeli naval forces and armed Palestinians, reportedly located at the shore during the incident, was reported. No arrests were reported, but the two boats were burned. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear.
Two children die in an accident related to the electricity crisis
On 26 March, two girls, 1 and 4 years old, died when a fire broke out in their house in Rafah, caused by the use of candles to light the house, during a power outage; two of their sisters (6 and 10 years old) were injured. Due to the longstanding electricity deficit, exacerbated by the shortage of fuel, due to the lack of funding, to operate the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) at full capacity, people suffer from scheduled power outages of up to 12 hours per day. To cope with the long blackouts, some households have resorted to mobile generators, which are unreliable due to their dependence on scarce fuel and spare parts and can be particularly unsafe. Those who cannot afford generators rely on more basic means, such as candles, which entail even higher risks. (For more on Gaza’s electricity crisis – its cause and impact, see our updated Fact Sheet ).
Seven children injured by Explosive Remnants of War
Eleven (11) civilians, including seven children, were injured this week due to the explosion of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in two incidents on 30 March in Rafah and Khan Younis. One of the incidents resulted in the injury of six children, including one severely injured, while handling the fuse of a most likely Gaza faction rocket. The other incident occurred when an ERW detonated in the hands of a boy in an open area west of Khan Younis. Between 2009 and 2014, a total of 19 civilians, including 12 children were killed, and 132, including 78 children, were injured in incidents involving ERWs.