'Two Palestinians Killed, Hundreds Injured' in Clashes With Israeli Army at Gaza Border

Gaza Health Ministry says 40 sustain wounds from live gunfire ■ Israeli army says protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at border, prompting forces to use riot dispersal means ■ Hamas official calls on Gazans to keep demonstrating

Palestinian paramedics carry an injured protester during demonstrations at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on August 17, 2018

Two Palestinians were killed from Israeli live gunfire on Friday during protests along the Gaza border fence, the Gaza Health Ministry reported.

241 were reported wounded, 40 of which from live gunfire.

One of the dead Palestinianד was shot east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, according to the report. The second, Sa'adi Akram Ma'amer, 26, was shot east of Rafah.

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Protest near the Gaza-Israel border, August 17, 2018
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israeli army released a statement Friday evening saying that throughout the afternoon, thousands of Palestinian protesters congregated at the border between Israel and the Strip. Demonstrators hurled several Molotov cocktails and makeshift explosives towards the border fence.

According to the army, no injuries or damage were reported.

Nonetheless, several suspects were identified trying to breach the border fence and enter Israeli territory. They immediately crossed back upon being spotted by the Israeli military.

Soldiers used riot dispersal means and live fire to disperse the protesters, the army said.  

Earlier Friday, the ministry's spokesperson confirmed hospitals are preparing to receive patients. 75 have been evacuated to hospitals so far.

The committee organizing the so-called 'March of Return protests' called for mass participation on Friday. Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya also implored Gazans to attend the demonstrations.  

The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect Wednesday, following the approval of the security cabinet ministers.

The understandings of the initial cease-fire are based on the principles that were agreed upon by the parties at the end of the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. These include, in the first stage, lifting restrictions at the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing and on the fishing area in Gaza, in addition to rehabilitation of Gaza infrastructure, in return for a cessation of attacks from both sides.