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Palestinian death toll rises as Israel opens fire on Gaza border protest

Hundreds of Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire on Friday [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2018

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Israel has retaliated to mass protests on the Gaza border with gunfire and tear gas.
At least 12 Palestinians have been killed and 1,000 hurt after Israeli soldiers opened fire at demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border, Gaza's health ministry has announced.

Those injured on Friday included protesters hit by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, while others were overcome by tear gas. It has not yet provided a breakdown.

The violence erupted as Palestinians began a planned series of demonstrations, starting with the commemoration of Land Day, and intended to continue into May.

Read more: Palestinians pledge to return home with non-violent marches

Tens of thousands of Gaza residents streamed to five tent camp sites, each located several hundred metres from the border wall. From there, large crowds marched to the heavily fortified fence, and some among them started throwing stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with live fire, tear gas and rubber bullets.

The Israeli military said thousands participated, and that troops opened fire at the "main instigators" of the stone-throwing - but the casualty list disputes that version of events. 

Later on Friday Israel's army said it targeted three Hamas sites in Gaza with tank fire and an air strike after what it said was an attempted gun attack on soldiers by Palestinians along the border.

The alleged shooting attack caused no injuries, the statement said.

  Read more: The Great Return March
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- In-depth: Palestinians pledge to return home with non-violent marches
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Read more: Palestinian Land Day resistance comes at critical time

The first Palestinian casualty was farmer Omar Wahid Samur, killed by Israeli shelling early on Friday.

A second Palestinian man, 25-year-old farmer Mohammed Najjar, was shot in the stomach by Israeli forces. 

Two men, Mohammed Abu Amar and Mohammed Abu Muammar, were also killed in separate violence, and 16-year-old Ahmed Ouda was shot dead.

Jihad Farina, 33, became the sixth person killed when he was shot east of Gaza City.

The march kicks off up to six weeks of protests dubbed "The Great March of Return", in the run-up to the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem around May 14.

A previously published version of this article, sourced from external agencies, contained terminology which was inconsistent with our in-house style guide.

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