Dozens injured in fresh protests along Gaza-Israel border

Dozens injured in fresh protests along Gaza-Israel border

Dozens injured in fresh protests along Gaza-Israel border

Most were injured east of Gaza City, but two were hurt in clashes near Al-Bureij in central Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians staged a mass protest along Gaza's sealed border with Israel on Friday, some burning Israeli flags while Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and live bullets from across the border fence.

The Israeli military say demonstrators also hurled an explosive device and several fire bombs near the fence.

Palestinian organizers have called the series of protests the "Great March of Return" beginning on Land Day, March 30, and continuing until May 15, the 70th anniversary of the "Nakba" - or the "catastrophe" - when 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes and off their land by Israeli forces in 1948.

Israeli forces have killed 33 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others on the two previous Fridays of protest on March 30 and April 6, when soldiers used live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas.

Rights groups have strongly criticized Israeli forces while pointing to unverified videos that have spread online of Gazans appearing to be shot, including one seeming to show a Palestinian targeted as he ran away from the fence while holding a tire.

Smaller groups moved closer to the fence, throwing stones, torching tires and burning large Israeli flags.

On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in Amman in solidarity with Palestinians. Israel has accused Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers of using the protests as a cover for attacks and says snipers only target the main "instigators".

Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the European Union have called for an independent investigation.

"Israel will continue to defend its borders and its citizens".

"Everyone's connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists", he said.

Israel claimed he was a paid member of Hamas, but produced no evidence.

The White House has called on Palestinians to engage in exclusively peaceful protests and stay at least 500 meters from Gaza's border with Israel.

Palestinians are expected to gather near the Gaza Strip border on Friday for the third week in a row as part of the March of Return movement.

The rallies began on March 30, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at different points along the border to demand that they be allowed to return to their homes in historical Palestine.

It has pledged to stop attacks, damage to the fence and infiltration bids, and says there have been attempts at all three. However, Egypt opened the border on Thursday and it is due to stay open over the weekend. In the fourth such opening this year, the Rafah crossing to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula will be open until Saturday for humanitarian cases, the interior ministry in Gaza said.

President Mahmud Abbas's internationally recognised Palestinian government, based in the West Bank and opposed to Hamas, has also increased measures against Gaza.

Tensions have flared since the beginning of the protests. Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry said one Gazan was killed and another seriously wounded in the strike. Some of those killed were militants, the Israeli army said.

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