By Nour Abu Aisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine
More than 30 Palestinian athletes have been injured by Israeli gunfire during anti-occupation rallies on border of the Gaza Strip since last month, according to a Palestinian official.
“Many of the athletes have sustained serious head injuries,” Ahmed Muheisen, undersecretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the Gaza Strip, told a press conference on Sunday.
He said some athletes had their limbs amputated as a result of their injury, citing the case of Alaa Al-Dali, a Palestinian biker who was preparing to represent Palestine in the Asia Racing Championship.
"We appeal to the international community and human rights organizations to assume their responsibilities and protect Palestinian youth, children and women," Muheisen said.
He also called for launching an international investigation “into crimes of the Israeli occupation against peaceful protesters”.
Tension has been high along Gaza border amid Palestinian rallies demanding the return of refugees to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
At least 46 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured by Israeli gunfire since the rallies began on March 30.
The rallies are part of a six-week protest that will culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".