Thousands of Palestinians joined hands today in an attempt to form a human chain across the Gaza Strip, AFP reports. They were protesting the Israeli blockade that has left the impoverished region perilously low on supplies. Israel massed forces along the border, including a rare artillery battery, and accused Hamas of “orchestrating a premeditated effort to put civilians on the front line.”
But what marred the protest was low turnout. Organizers hoped for at least 40,000 participants, but just 5,000 or so showed, mostly schoolchildren. Afterward, roughly 2,000 marched on an Israeli checkpoint, but Hamas security forces stopped them and urged tham to obey the law, the AP reports. Earlier today, Israeli airstrikes killed two Hamas militants in the region.