Palestinians Wounded On Gaza Border As Third Week Of Protests Begins

Gaza Israel border

Gaza Israel border

Islam Herzallah, 28, who was shot and critically injured by Israeli forces at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, was announced dead of his wounds on Friday evening, according to the Ministry of Health.

In all, 35 Palestinians were killed in the past two weeks, 28 during protests. In additions, hundreds of Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli fire since March 30.

Israel has declared a no-go zone close to the Gaza border fence, and deployed army sharpshooters along it.

Conricus said Friday that the military is trying to minimize Palestinian casualties, but hadn't changed open-fire regulations.

No Israelis have been killed during the demonstrations, and human rights groups say the Israeli military has used live fire against demonstrators who pose no immediate threat to life. Since late March, 27 Palestinians were killed in protests.

Despite worldwide criticism and calls for an independent investigation into the killings, Israeli authorities have doubled down on the decision to use live fire against unarmed protesters.

Israel has accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of using the protests as a cover for attacks and says snipers only target the main "instigators".

The Palestinian Ministry of Health is reporting that over 500 Palestinians have been injured during today's protests, 122 by live fire.

Clashes erupted at several spots as small groups of Palestinian protesters threw stones at Israeli border guards who fired back with tear gas.

The organisers of the Great Return March say the protests are a non-partisan and peaceful call for worldwide support, yet erroneous media reports have characterised the demonstrators as "rioters" directly "clashing" with Israeli forces.

Medics carry a a protester wounded during the Gaza return march demonstrations.

"An order to open live fire at unarmed protesters is manifestly unlawful", it said.

"I am from the village of Hiribya and it is my right to return to it", she said, referring to a village north of Gaza destroyed in the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation.

The deadly use of live ammunition by the Israeli army against demonstrators in Gaza - in defiance of worldwide law - has highlighted the unsparing nature with which Israel has sought to quell a grassroots protest aimed at highlighting the desperate conditions under which Gazans live.

Israeli soldiers are firing tear gas and live bullets from across the border fence.

The health officials said that among those hurt Friday was a Gaza journalist who was in serious condition with a bullet wound in the abdomen.

Rights groups have strongly criticised Israeli forces while pointing to unverified videos that have spread online of Gazans appearing to be shot, including one seeming to show a Palestinian targeted as he ran away from the fence while holding a tyre.

The Israeli army reports that one explosive device was detonated on the Gaza side of the border, causing Palestinian injuries.

Palestinians are streaming to tent camps along Gaza's border with Israel for the third of what are to be weekly mass protests until mid-May.

The marches have been organised by Hamas, but large turnouts on two preceding Fridays were also driven by desperation among the territory's 2 million residents.

The marchers are protesting against the blockade of the enclave, but are also asserting what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to the areas occupied by Israel.

Several thousand people gathered Friday at one of the tent camps, east of Gaza City.

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