Gaza officials: 2 Palestinians killed in border protest

July 27, 2018 - 12:26 pm

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza health officials said two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured by Israeli fire at a weekly border protest on Friday.

The Israeli military said it opened fire after Palestinians damaged the border fence.

The Gaza Health Ministry said a 14-year-old died from a gunshot to the head.

Earlier it said a 43-year-old man, Ghazi Abu Mustafa, was killed.

Hassan Najjar told The Associated Press Friday that he witnessed that shooting.

He said soldiers shot at a group of Palestinians who rushed to the border and a bullet hit the man sitting about 250 meters away. He said the man had sustained leg wounds at a previous protest.

Over 80 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has led border protests aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

The demonstrations have been fueled in large part by pervasive despair caused by the blockade which has caused widespread economic hardship.

Over 140, mostly unarmed, Palestinians have been killed since protests began.

Israel says it is defending its border and accuses Hamas, a group sworn to its destruction, of using the protests as cover for attempts to breach the border fence and attack civilians and soldiers.

Last week a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier. Another soldier was wounded by Palestinian fire on Wednesday.

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