GAZA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are preparing for the seventh Friday protests close to its eastern border with Israel, as part of what they call "the Great March of Return" rally.
Starting on March 30, the mass rally is expected to culminate on May 15, the day after the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence but marked by the Palestinians as the Nakba Day, or "the Day of Catastrophe."
Ashraf al-Qedra, health ministry spokesman in Gaza, said in an e-mailed press statement that the Israeli army has shot and killed 47 Palestinians since March 30, with six bodies still unreturned.
Meanwhile, about 8,000 others were injured in the clashes, including 793 children under 18 years old and 283 women, with 166 seriously injured, 2,119 moderately injured and 2,198 lightly injured, he said.
Among the injured, 2,064 were shot with live gunshots, and 403 with rubber-coated metal bullets, while 1,094 suffered gas suffocation, the spokesman added.
Every Friday since March 30, the Palestinian Coordination Committee for the March of Return chooses a name for the day of protests. This Friday is called the Friday of Preparations and Forerunner.
Eyewitnesses said young men are seen preparing fire bombs, and burning dozens of tires in order to create walls of huge black smoke as shields blocking the vision of Israeli snipers.
Yehya Sinwar, the Hamas chief in Gaza, warned on Tuesday that the loss of hope among the Gazan population would turn the coastal enclave into a ticking bomb that might explode at any time.
More than a decade of Israeli blockade and an internal Palestinian division have deprived the Gazans of daily necessities including electricity, medicines and jobs, according to human rights groups.