UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A Palestinian youth was shot dead by the Israeli army in the clashes near the border fence east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the health ministry said.
“Tamer Khaled Mustafa Arafat, 23, was shot dead by the Israeli occupation forces east of Rafah,” Ashraf al-Khadra said in a statement. “He was transferred to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis in a critical condition.”
“Forty-five civilians, including two women and 15 children, as well as four paramedics and two journalists were injured on Friday,” he said.
“One of the injured is in a serious condition … and dozens of people who were suffocated by tear gas received treatment at the site,” he said.
For his part, an Israeli army spokesman said that “about 8400 demonstrators and rioters gathered in a number of locations along the security fence in the Gaza Strip.”
“They threw explosive devices and stones at the security fence and soldiers, and they also set tires on fire,” he said.
An AFP correspondent reported that dozens of youths and youths were approaching several meters from the fence and throwing stones at armored vehicles of Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand screens.
“We are warning the occupation against the consequences of continuing its aggression against Al-Aqsa mosque and targeting civilians,” said Ismail Radwan, a Hamas leader. “We confirm the continuation of the return marches and the breaking of the siege by its popular nature and peaceful means.
The protests coincided with the presence of an Egyptian security delegation headed by General Intelligence Undersecretary Ayman Badia in Gaza, where he met with the head of the Hamas political bureau and representatives of the factions and discussed with them the “stabilization of the truce” with Israel before leaving Gaza on Friday evening, a Palestinian official in Gaza said.
The protests, often triggered by confrontations between demonstrators and the army, began along the Gaza Strip border on March 30 last year, demanding the lifting of the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza for more than a decade and the right of refugees to return.
About a year ago, at least 252 Palestinians were killed during the protests, which peak every Friday near the border, and two Israeli soldiers were killed during the same period.
The besieged Hamas-controlled enclave of more than a decade and three wars has been a fragile truce between Hamas and Israel.
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