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Gaza Ministry: 1 Dead, Hundreds Injured as Violence Erupts Along Gaza-Israeli Border


Palestinian protesters run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, April 13, 2018.

The Gaza Health Ministry said one Palestinian was killed and more than 900 others were injured Friday by Israeli troops, who used gunfire and tear gas to repel numerous attempts by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating the Palestinian-governed Gaza Strip from Israel.

The violence erupted after thousands of Palestinians staged a protest along the border, the third weekly protest scheduled through mid-May. The protests already have resulted in dozens killed and thousands injured.

The protesters gathered at tent camps several hundred meters from the border fence. Smaller groups of protesters approached the fence, burning Israeli flags and tires and hurling stones, prompting Israeli soldiers to fire live bullets and tear gas. Israel's military said some protesters in the crowd threw firebombs and explosive devices, while others tried to breach the border fence.

Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded man during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, April 13, 2018.
Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded man during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, April 13, 2018.

The Gaza Health Ministry said a 28-year-old man was fatally shot. It said more than 900 other protesters were injured, 223 of them by gunshots. Ten nurses and paramedics and two journalists were among the wounded, according to the ministry.

The protesters are demanding an end to the decade-old blockade and a return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel, where their ancestors lived before being forced to flee after the establishment of Israel in 1948. Israel repeatedly has ruled out any right of their return over concerns Israel would lose its Jewish majority.

Some rights groups maintain Israel's open-fire rules are unlawful because troops potentially can use lethal force against unarmed protesters. Amnesty International demanded Friday that Israel "put an immediate end to the excessive and lethal force being used to suppress Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza." It also reiterated its demand for an independent probe into the killings.

Palestinian protesters chant slogans as they pull part of the fence that the Israeli Army placed, during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, April 13, 2018.
Palestinian protesters chant slogans as they pull part of the fence that the Israeli Army placed, during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, April 13, 2018.

The Israeli military said it responded "with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with the rules of engagement."

Israel has accused the Islamist movement Hamas, which governs Gaza, and with whom Israel has fought three wars since 2008, of using the protests to incite violence. But Palestinians maintain protesters are being shot while posing no threat to Israeli troops.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the European Union have called for an independent investigation.

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