Twenty-year-old Palestinian Mohammad Jehad Saad was killed this morning in an Israeli artillery bombing in the east of Gaza City.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Saad was wounded by shrapnel when Israel bombed a Palestinian security checkpoint.
This came amidst intensified efforts by the Palestinian factions and security services in the besieged Gaza Strip to keep the planned one-million-man protest – which marks the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return – peaceful.
Saad’s death brought the number of Palestinians killed by Israel during the Great March of Return to 267.
In the run-up to Saturday’s rallies, the Israeli army has deployed numerous tanks and armored vehicles along the buffer zone with the Gaza Strip.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly instructed the army to prepare for the possibility of a “broad” campaign in Gaza.
Nearly 270 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by Israeli army gunfire since Palestinians began holding regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone in March of last year.
Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.