Clashes erupted along the Gaza border on Monday as the U.S. officially moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, killing at least 52 Palestinians and injuring more than 2,400 others, local officials said.
Tens of thousands of people gathered along the Gaza border, setting tires on fire and hurling stones and firebombs across the border. Some approached the frontier and tried to breach the border fence, witnesses said.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 52 people, including a paramedic and 8 children, were killed as a result of Israeli live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas. More than 2,400 others were injured, the ministry said.
Al Jazeera journalist Wael Dahdouh was among those injured and taken to hospital, the broadcaster said, adding that he was hit by live ammunition from Israeli forces. There was no word on his condition.
Israel described the events as “riots” and claimed they were led by Hamas, the Islamic group which rules the Gaza Strip. A White House spokesman in the U.S. voiced support for Israel’s response, stating that Hamas bears responsibility for those killed.
“Terrorist Hamas is trying to breach through our defenses and attack our civilians,” Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, condemned Monday’s events as Israeli war crimes. “The international community must no longer allow for such carnage to be perpetrated against our people with impunity,” he said.
The UN Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the deadly clashes.
In Jerusalem, the ceremony to officially open the U.S. Embassy in Israel took place without incident. A number of senior U.S. and Israeli officials attended the event, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.
Trump announced in December that he had decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that was welcomed by Israel but condemned across the Middle East and Europe. Trump also announced the beginning of the process to move the U.S. Embassy.
The status of Jerusalem, the seat of Israel’s government, is a sensitive subject as the city is of great religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Palestinians seek to make East Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state.