In one of the bloodiest days in the long-running conflict, Israeli troops have killed 52 Palestinians protesting the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Palestinians have used kites to drop Molotov cocktails on Israeli forces who responded by launching drones to unleash lung-burning tear gas on demonstrators in nightmarish scenes.
Israel has hired drone racers to knock the bomb-carrying kites out of the sky, reports Haaretz.
Amateur drone pilots have used fish hooks to intercept the floating Molotov menaces or simply fly through them, shredding their strings.
This comes as a kite, carrying what is believed to be a remote-operated bomb, landed in Israel after being launched from Gaza, in what is a disturbing first in the bitterly-fought war.
What we know so far
- The US today officially moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
- The move was controversial as both the Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital
- Thousands of Palestinians protested at the Gaza border with Israel today, demanding an end to the blocklade and slamming the US embassy move
- Demonstrators burned tyres and threw stones and Israel troops responded with tear gas and live rounds
- At least 52 Palestinians have been killed and 1,200 more wounded
- No casualties have been reported on the Israeli side
An Israeli drone drops tear gas near the troubled border
While the device appeared to be either a dud or a replica explosive, Israeli authorities consider the incident a terrifying new phase of so-called "kite terrorism."
At least 52 demonstrators have been killed by Israeli gunfire amid huge protests along the border with Gaza today, according to officials.
Dozens more have also been wounded as demonstrators clashed with border guards on the same day the US embassy is controversially set to move to Jerusalem.
Black smoke from tyres burned by demonstrators rose into the air at the border, as activists tried to use the smoke as cover from snipers.
Masked protesters hurled stones towards the border fences as Israeli troops fired volleys of tear gas and live bullets back into the crowds.
Aside from the dozens killed – including a 14-year-old boy – more than 1,200 more have been wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said.
Gaza science teacher Ali, who declined to give his last name, said: “Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever.
“Many may get martyred today, so many. But the world will hear our message – occupation must end.”
The border area has seen daily protests against a decade-old blockade of the territory for the last two weeks.
But today’s demonstration – on the day of the embassy move – is being billed as the biggest yet.
Today’s deaths bring the total of Palestinians killed during the protests over the last two weeks to 82.
No Israeli casualties have been reported.
The killings have drawn international criticism but the US has echoed Israel in accusing Gaza's ruling Hamas movement of instigating violence.
Israeli leaders and a US delegation including Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, are due to attend the opening of the new embassy.
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