Palestinians hurt by Israeli shots during Friday protests | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 04.05.2018
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Palestinians hurt by Israeli shots during Friday protests

Israeli troops fired bullets and tear gas at Palestinians gathered at the Gaza-Israel border for their sixth weekly protest. Since March, at least 39 protesters have been killed and hundreds more wounded by Israeli fire.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered near Gaza's border with Israel on Friday as part of their ongoing protest against a decade-old blockade of the territory.

Some protesters threw stones and burned tires as Israeli troops fired live rounds and volleys of tear gas from across the border fence.

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At least 200 protesters were hospitalized, including 70 with bullet wounds, according to Gaza health officials.

An Israeli military spokesman said around 7,000 Palestinians took part in "riots" at five locations along the Gaza Strip border. He said one group had tried to breach the fence and enter Israeli territory.

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Lethal force

The mass protests, called by Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group, have been taking place every Friday since March 30 to demand the right of return for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The protests are expected to continue until May 15, when Hamas says the protesters might breach the border fence to mark the 70th anniversary of their uprooting and the creation of the Israeli state in 1948. 

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At least 39 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more injured by Israeli soldiers' gunfire in the last month, prompting global criticism, including from the European Union and the United Nations.

Israel said that it is defending its borders and that soldiers only target instigators who hurl stones and Molotov cocktails.

It says that the protests are a cover for Hamas to carry out attacks, and that most of the dead were militants. Palestinians deny the allegations.

bik, ap/sms (Reuters, AP)

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