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Protests highlighting the 44th anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War, termed “naksa day” or “setback,” turned deadly when demonstrators from Syria attempted to enter Israel.
Hundreds of protesters gathered along the barbed-wire fence separating Syria from the Golan Heights, a hilly area controlled by Israel. Israeli Defense Force troops cautioned crowds that those who crossed the border would be shot.
“The Israeli army said 10 people had been killed Sunday along the Syrian ceasefire line during protests marking the anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, while Damascus said 23 people had been killed and 350 wounded,” Agence France Presse reported.
“Israeli officials accused Syrian authorities of permitting Sunday’s [June 5] disturbance in order to deflect international attention from their bloody suppression of the popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian rule,” Voice of America stated. “The Syrian border cannot be approached without government compliance.”
The standoff generated international concern, with the United States and other countries condemning the Syrian move.