GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian on Friday during weekly protests along the border with Israel, Gaza health officials said.
In addition to the 24-year-old male fatality, 30 other people were wounded by live gunfire during the protest, in which thousands participated, they said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops, facing around 6,000 Palestinians at the border with Gaza, opened fire when some of them approached the fortified fence.
Egyptian security mediators were visiting the region to cement ceasefire understanding between Israel and Gaza militants, led by the Islamist Hamas group. Their visit follows last weekend’s flare-up in fighting, which killed 29 Palestinians, over half them civilians, and four Israeli civilians.
The protesters are demanding an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza and Palestinians’ rights to lands from which their families fled or were forced to flee during Israel’s founding in 1948.
Israel sees the protests as potential cover for cross-border attacks and a bid by Hamas to distract from its internal governance problems.
More than 200 Gazans have been killed by Israeli troops since the “Great March of Return” started on March 30, 2018, according to Gaza health officials. An Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper.
(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Catherine Evans)