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Saturday, 22 September 2018

Two Palestinians killed in Gazan by Israeli occupation fire in border protests

AFP , Friday 27 Jul 2018
Gaza
Palestinian protesters carry a woman injured during a demonstration along the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Gaza city on July 27, 2018. (AFP PHOTO)
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Israeli occupation troops shot dead two Palestinians during Friday protests at the Gaza-Israel border, the health ministry in Gaza said.

It said in a statement that one of those killed was a 14-year-old boy shot in the head during border confrontations east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Earlier the ministry reported the killing of Ghazi Abu Mustafa 43, and said he was shot by Israeli occupation soldiers, also in the head, near the frontier fence, east of the southern town of Khan Yunis.

The Israeli occupation military did not comment directly on the deaths but said about 7,000 Palestinian "rioters" threw rocks and rolled burning tyres at soldiers, and at the fence itself, at several locations along the border.

"Troops are responding with riot dispersal means and firing in accordance with the rules of engagement," an English-language statement said, without elaborating.

There has been violence between the Israeli occupation army and Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip since late March in which at least 156 Palestinians have been killed.

Hamas has pledged revenge after Israeli air and artillery strikes on the coastal enclave killed a number of its members in recent weeks.

Israel launched three wars on Gaza since 2008.

A week ago a Palestinian gunman shot and killed an Israeli soldier at the border, sparking a fierce wave of Israeli bombing that ratcheted up fears of another war.

A degree of calm was restored until Wednesday when Israel said its troops came under fire again, with one soldier wounded.

It hit back with artillery fire which killed three Palestinians at a Hamas military base, near the border, east of Gaza City.

The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, warned in response Wednesday that "the enemy shall pay a high price in blood for the crime which it commits daily against the rights of our people and our fighters".

Palestinians in Gaza have for months been demonstrating against Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

In the wake of the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations, which started on 30 March, Gaza’s already overstretched health sector has been struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties.

At least 158 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured by Israeli occupation forces during the recent protests near the border with Israel.

Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza which it argues is necessary to isolate Hamas.

The blockade is worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza, which human rights advocates have described as collective punishment of the Palestinians living in the strip.

The Gaza Strip faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, caused by over 10 years of Israeli blockade, alongside an internal Palestinian divide, which worsened in 2017, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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