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Protests flare in South Florida following weekend attack by Hamas on Israel

Small skirmish reported in Fort Lauderdale after Israel attacked
Small skirmish reported in Fort Lauderdale after Israel attacked 01:43

FORT LAUDERDALE — Tensions flared on Sunday during dueling protests as Israeli and Palestinian supporters held conflicting protests in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

What started as a peaceful protest quickly escalated as emotions flared between supporters of Israel and Palestine, as supporters on both sides took to East Sunrise Boulevard.

Hundreds of demonstrators from both sides of the conflict took to the streets in emotional and passionate response to the unprecedented, multi-front attack carried out by Hamas militants on Saturday, where at least 600 Israeli civilians and military members died, with an additional 300-plus Palestinians killed following retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Tensions boil as Israeli, Palestinian supporters protest in downtown Fort Lauderdale 02:04

Video shot earlier in the afternoon showed hundreds of pro-Israel supporters and a small group of pro-Palestine supporters in separate demonstrations on East Sunrise Boulevard.

When the two groups came across each other, the protests got very heated between them before calming down later into the evening as some protestors from both sides of the conflict left the area.  

"A group of four of us were attacked by maybe 30. I was pepper sprayed three times in the face. I was punched in the face repeatedly, I was punched in the head, I was punched in the chest, my shirt was ripped," said Aldair Labarda, a supporter of Palestine.

"There is a cycle of violence, a cycle of death and out of globe countries on the planet that are being asked to tolerate that. Israel is the only country that's asked to accept your citizens being murdered," one supporter of Israel said.

The protest comes after Hamas breached the border of Gaza in a multi-front surprise attack in Israel, where officials say more than 700 people have been killed in Israel and at least 2,000 injured.

"This is not something that we've seen in Israel. We've never been through anything like that. Not in the hardest times, not in the hardest wars that we had," said Nissan Korkus, a supporter of Israel.

"The people of Palestine are tired of being occupied and genocide is committed against them," said Samira Abed, a supporter of Palestine.

In Fort Lauderdale, those in support of Israel say they're under attack, and say they will no longer be passive.

"We want to support what's going on, it's not okay what Hamas is doing, and we want to stop this, but is this is something we can do, we will do that," said Chaya Borenstein, a supporter of Israel.

But Palestinian supporters say the attacks come after years of tension between Israel, and they say they've had enough.

"We support the Palestinians people right to be free. And that's it. We want peace, we want love on earth. Here is the side of love, over there is the side of hate," said Didier Ortiz, a supporter of Palestine.

Right here in South Florida, people from both sides are rallying to support their countries, and they say they won't stop until the war is over.

"Free Palestine," said Abed.

"Israel is now going to take care of Hamas and Jihad Islam," said Korkus.

There is another protest that's expected to happen Monday evening in support of Israel in Aventura at the Waterways Shoppes at 6pm. 

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