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Israeli troops kill Palestinian, wound more than 200 at Gaza border protest

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GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli troops killed one Palestinian and wounded more than 200 others at a weekly protest on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, Gaza officials said.

Protesters rolled burning tires and hurled stones towards the Israeli soldiers and the border fence, witnesses said. The Israeli military said that some threw firebombs and a grenade. No Israelis were hurt.

Reuters television footage showed incendiary kites in the air being sent towards Israel.

Palestinian health officials said a 17-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers and that 210 others were wounded, 45 of them with live fire, including a medic.

An Israeli military statement said soldiers had used riot dispersal means and acted “in accordance with standard operating procedures.” Israeli aircraft also struck two Hamas outposts, the military said.

Since Gazans began holding weekly border protests began on March 30, the Israeli army has killed 173 Palestinians and wounded thousands. A Gaza sniper has killed an Israeli soldier.

Gaza, a narrow coastal enclave home to more than 2 million Palestinians is controlled by Islamist group Hamas. Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

The protests are taking place at a time of growing frustration over the prospects for an independent Palestinian state. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded.

Israel says Hamas deliberately provokes violence at the protests, a charge Hamas denies.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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