Hundreds of Arabs from Syria stormed across the border into Israel on Sunday, prompting Israeli troops to respond with fire that killed at least four people.
The incident, which marked the first major eruption of violence along the border in decades, came on the same day that an Israeli Arab terrorist rammed a truck into pedestrians in Tel Aviv, killing one. Elsewhere around Israel and the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians protested to mark Nakba Day — the day Arabs mark the “catastrophe” of Israel’s birth on May 15, 1948.
The number of Arabs from Syria who breached the border on the Golan Heights was estimated at 400 to 1,000. The Israel Defense Forces declared the area of Majdal Shams, a Druze town near Mount Hermon, a closed military zone as Israeli troops tried to round up those who had infiltrated the border.
Israeli troops also fired on Palestinian protestors who approached Israel’s border with Gaza, wounding several teens, according to reports.
In Lebanon, thousands of Arabs reportedly converged on Israel’s border to demonstrate, but they were pushed back when the Lebanese Army fired warning shots into the air.
In Tel Aviv, Israeli law enforcement officials said they were considering the morning’s truck rampage, in which more than a dozen people were injured and one was killed, a terrorist attack. The 22-year-old man from the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Kassem who drove his truck into cars and pedestrians on a busy thoroughfare reportedly told police his tire had exploded, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
In Jerusalem, Palestinian demonstrators also reportedly threw firebombs at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.
The violence came two days after a Palestinian teen was killed during a protest in eastern Jerusalem. The boy may have been shot by a security guard for several Jewish families who live in the area.
This story "Violence Erupts in Israel, as Thousands Mark 'Nakba Day'" was written by JTA.