Israeli forces kill Palestinian protester in Gaza, wound dozens

Health ministry says 28-year-old Palestinian killed and 54 others wounded by Israeli forces during weekly protests.

Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian protester and wounded at least 54 others in the Gaza Strip, according to health officials in the besieged enclave.

Alaa Nizar Hamdan, 28, was shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers in Jabalia, northern Gaza, Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza said on Friday.

Among the injured, 22 were shot with live bullets, he added.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered near the perimeter fence to participate in the Great March of Return, a series of weekly protests that began in March 2018.

The Israeli army did not comment on the specific incident but told the AFP news agency that around 5,800 of Palestinian “rioters and demonstrators” had gathered in multiple locations along the fence, with some throwing stones and explosive devices towards soldiers.

There were no reports of injured soldiers.

Since the Gaza rallies began, 313 Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire and thousands more wounded, according to the health ministry.

Eight Israelis have been killed in Gaza-related violence over the same period.

Demonstrators demand an end to Israel’s 12-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has shattered the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of free movement in and out from Gaza and prevented many basic amenities.

Palestinians have also been demanding the right to return to lands in historic Palestine from which their families were violently expelled during the founding of Israel in 1948.

Israel says any such return would mean an end to the Jewish state and accuses Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs Gaza of orchestrating the protests.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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