RAMALLAH, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian minister of health on Monday accused Israel of committing massacre against Palestinian protesters in eastern Gaza Strip.
Jawad Awwad, the health minister in the Palestinian consensus government said in an emailed press statement that Israel committed massacre against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and had so far killed 18 Palestinians and wounded over 900 others.
He said that his ministry is sending an urgent appeal to the world's countries and states as well as all organizations "to immediately pressure on Israel to stop massacre against the Palestinians in eastern Gaza Strip."
"The number of casualties is increasing and this is a dangerous indication that unveils Israel's intentions to cause the highest number of casualties among Palestinian demonstrators," he said.
Meanwhile, Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the health ministry in Gaza said in a short text message sent to reporters that 18 Palestinian demonstrators were killed and nearly 1,000 others wounded.
Eyewitnesses said that hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators cut barbed wire of border fence between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel and managed to enter into Israel. Some of them burned tires.
Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said in a short text message sent to reporters that Israeli artillery fired at a Hamas military post near the border, east of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip.
The Monday protests were organized by the National Commission of the Great Marches of Return in eastern Gaza Strip, which have been going on since March 30. Monday's protests were also against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
The protest coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence, a day before the Palestinians' Nakba Day, or "Day of Catastrophe."