Jerusalem Israel forces opened fire at hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Israel- Syria frontier in the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, killing 12 and injuring dozens in their attempt to break the demonstration

marking the 44th anniversary of the occupation of the area, PTI reports.

Syrian media reported the death of 12 protesters allegedly in Israel Defence Forcesalt39 sniper fire after hundreds marched towards what fenced border between Israel and Syria on alt39 Naksa Dayalt39. Palestinians from Syria tried to cross the ceasefire line with the Golan Heights, one of the territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war.

Medical officials told alt39 Damascus TValt39 that Israeli soldiers " are shooting live rounds and aiming for the abdomen, chest and head". The Red Cross Ambulances evacuated the dozens of injured, they said.

IDF Spokesman, Brigadier- General Yoav Mordechai wondered if this was an attempt by the Syrian government to divert attention from the crisis at home.

" The Syrian government and military are helpless to stop what is going on… I hope this is not an attempt by the Syrian regime to divert international attention from what in is going on in the country," he said.

IDF sources did not confirm the casualties but said forces first called on demonstrators to cease their progress, before firing warning shots in mid- air.

They also fired tear gas and used other demonstration dispersal weaponry.

Once those were ignored, troops fired at the lower extremities of dissidents inflaming the crowds, they said.

Despite reports suggesting that mass rallies planned in Syria and Lebanon to mark alt39 Naksa Dayalt39, the anniversary of the Arab " downfall" in the Six Day War were cancelled, some 500 people gathered on the Syrian side of the border with Israel on Sunday.

Some 150 protesters are said to have made their way to the international border fence and attempting to cut through the fence at around noon and allegedly began throwing stones at IDF troops.

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