(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria carried coffins through the streets of their refugee camps Monday as they buried those killed when protesters marched on Israel's border, the Associated Press reported.
Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of Arab protesters who marched towards Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, killing at least 15 people, including 10 in Lebanon.
The Palestinians were marking a Palestinian day of mourning for their displacement in the war that followed Israel's creation on Palestinian lands in 1948, referred to as Nakbeh.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday declared three days of mourning for the people killed in the mass marches, AP reported.
"Their blood will not be spilled in vain, because their blood was spilled for the freedom and rights of our people," Abbas said.
Flags at public buildings in the West Bank were lowered to half-staff.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria took part in the funeral procession for some of those killed during clashes between Israeli troops and Arab protesters on the Golan Heights.
The Palestinian and Syrian protesters stormed the border fence and hundreds burst through, pelting Israeli soldiers with stones. Israeli soldiers guarding the border opened fire to stop them.
Syria's state-run news agency said four protesters were killed and more than 200 wounded, but Palestinian officials said five Palestinians died.
Mourners at the Yarmouk Camp on Monday carried three coffins on their shoulders from the mosque to Martyrs Cemetery, about two kilometres away.
The coffins, wrapped in Palestinian flags, passed through the camp's narrow streets to the cemetery as shouts of "God is great" rose from the crowd, AP reported.
Women on balconies showered mourners with rice and flowers, a traditional symbol of grief. Mourners, waving Palestinian flags and holding up posters of the three men, shouted: "The people want to liberate Palestine".
Shops and schools in Yarmouk Camp closed Monday in a show of mourning. Mourners burned drawings of Israeli flags.
In south Lebanon, thousands of Palestinians at the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp fired guns in the air and carried coffins wrapped with Palestinian flags through the streets.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the United Nations condemned on Monday Israel's "disproportionate, deadly force" against demonstrators mourning the anniversary of Nakbeh.
"I am shocked by the number of the deaths and the use of disproportionate, deadly force by the Israeli forces against apparently unarmed demonstrators, which I condemn," UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams said.
"I strongly reiterate the need for all sides to exercise maximum restraint, to prevent the recurrence of such violence and to strictly adhere to resolution 1701," said Williams, referring to the UN resolution that halted hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah in a 2006 war, according to Reuters.