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Israeli gunfire kills Palestinian as border protest builds to climax


Israeli troops killed a Palestinian and hundreds of others were hurt on Friday, Palestinian medical workers said, bringing to 44 the number killed during a six-week protest at the Gaza-Israel border, APA reports quoting Reuters.

 

The protests are building to a climax on May 15, the day Palestinians call the “Nakba” or “Catastrophe”, marking the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the conflict surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

 

Organizers of the protest, called the “Great March of Return”, said they expected tens of thousands of Gazans at tented border encampments in the coming days.

 

The man killed was protesting east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Seven people were critically hurt, including a 16-year-old who was shot in the face, Gaza medics said.

 

Of total number 971 needing treatment, 176 were hit by live bullets, they said. Others suffered the effects of teargas or were hit by rubber bullets or shrapnel.

 

Israel has been criticized by human rights groups for its lethal response to the protests.

 

A report by the aid charity Save the Children, published on Friday, said that during the protests, at least 250 Gazan children had been hit with live bullets, among nearly 700 children injured overall. The analysis was based on data collected by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

 

An Israeli army spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the report.

 

The Israeli military said on Friday its troops were defending the border and “firing in accordance with the rules of engagement”.

 

The military said protesters were “violent, burning tires and hurling rocks” and that it “will not allow any harm to the security infrastructure or security fence and will continue standing by its mission to defend and ensure the security of the citizens of Israel and Israeli sovereignty, as necessary”.

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