Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli live gunfire on Friday during protest along the Gaza border fence, the health ministry in the Strip reported, adding two more were critically wounded.
One of the men was shot in the chest while protesting east of the El Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, the report said, and stated 55 other Palestinians were wounded in the clashes thus far.
Haaretz Weekly, Episode 19
The health ministry later released the names of the two men killed, Nedal Abed Alkareem Ahmed Shatat, 29, and 24-year-old Jehad Monier Khaled Harara.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who was present in the area of the protest, said, "The marches of return are a tool of resistance to the siege on Gaza, and a clear statement that the Palestinian people haven't given up on their right of return."
He added that the marches are achieving their goal and will continue to take place. "Israel must understand the message. Otherwise, what will come will be much worse."
On Thursday, the Israeli military said it shelled a Hamas military post in the southern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary balloons being flown over the border fence. Seven Palestinians were reported wounded by Gaza's health ministry.
Last week, the organizing committee for the March of Return called off the weekly protest after a serious flare-up, throughout which the IDF attacked some 100 targets in Gaza following two rockets that were fired at Tel Aviv.
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Next Friday, March 30, is the anniversary of the "March of Return." It marks Land Day, a day Palestinians worldwide have commemorated since 1976, when Israeli security forces shot dead six Israeli-Arabs protesting land expropriation.