Hamas chief, Egyptian delegation visit Gaza border to observe calm with Israel

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-30 19:24:54|Editor: xuxin
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GAZA, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Islamic Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh and a senior Egyptian security intelligence delegation visited on Saturday the area of the eastern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel, to observe the implementation of an Egyptian-brokered calm understanding, security sources and eyewitnesses said.

They said that the Egyptian delegation, which has been in the Gaza Strip since Thursday, headed to eastern Gaza city together with Haniyeh "to follow up and observe the situation on the border as part of their mission to reinforce the calm agreement reached between the Palestinian factions and Israel."

The eyewitnesses said that dozens of police and security forces officers and members redeployed on Saturday at main streets' crossroads, mainly the roads that lead to eastern Gaza Strip areas, to manage traffic and back the demonstrators who join one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return.

The eyewitnesses also said that members of the High Commission of the Great March of Return wearing orange jackets were seen moving among the masses of demonstrators in eastern Gaza Strip, trying to keep the crowds away from the fence of the border with Israel.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators marched toward the eastern area of the Gaza Strip, close to the fence of the border with Israel, to mark one year of the start of the Great March of Return and also the 43rd anniversary of the Palestinian "Land Day."

Clashes broke out between hundreds of demonstrators and the Israeli soldiers stationed on the border in eastern Gaza Strip, said eyewitnesses, adding that the soldiers fired tear gas and live gunfire at the demonstrators to keep them away from approaching the fence.

Medical sources said that several young men were shot and wounded by gunfire in the clashes with the soldiers, adding that the injured were taken to hospitals for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the Israeli media reported that Israeli army officials called on the demonstrators to keep a distance of 300 meters away from the fence.

The International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations expressed hope that the protests in eastern Gaza would be peaceful without casualties among Gaza Strip's civilians, mainly among children.

A general strike dominated the Gaza Strip, while the ministries of health and interior, which are run by Hamas movement, declared a status of emergency.

The official governmental and private sector's institutions closed on Saturday, including schools, universities and stores all over the Gaza Strip, except medical institutions, clinics and hospitals.