60 Palestinians Wounded in Border Protests, Some by Live Fire, Gaza Authorities Say

Military says 7,000 participated in protests and that 30 were wounded

An Israeli soldier points his rifle toward Palestinian protesters during a demonstration near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, April 26, 2019.
AFP

Protests at the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday saw 60 wounded Palestinians requiring hospitalization after clashes with troops, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The ministry did not report any serious injuries, but said some of the wounded were hit by live fire.

The Israel Defense Forces said some 7,000 Gazans participated in the demonstrations and that troops had used live fire on those who attempted to damage the fence. An additional 30 people had been wounded according to the IDF.

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Palestinian paramedics carry a man on a stretcher during a demonstration near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, April 26, 2019.
AFP

The protests followed Egyptian-mediated agreements reached by Israel and Hamas earlier this month that have led to a decrease in the level of violence in the protests and a significant reduction in the number of participants, as well as a freeze in the use of incendiary balloons and the holding of nighttime demonstrations.

The organizing committee behind the weekly demonstrations called on protesters to avoid violence and refrain from gathering en masse near the fence. A senior member of the committee told Haaretz that there has been no change in Gaza's living conditions, and that failure to implement promised improvements will lead to an escalation in violence.

With Hamas's approval, the committee is planning a large-scale protest involving tens of thousands of participants on May 15, which is Nakba Day.

In protests two weeks earlier, a 15-year-old Palestinian was killed after being shot in the stomach by live fire. A week before that, one Palestinian was seriously wounded by live fire during the weekly protests.