GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man on Friday during weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
About 6,000 Palestinians gathered along the frontier, the Israeli military said, and some in the crowd hurled explosive devices and grenades towards the fence separating Gaza from Israel and toward a military vehicle.
A military spokesman said troops responded with riot dispersal tactics and opened fire in accordance with standard operating procedures.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said that other than the man killed, 40 people were wounded, 18 of them by live fire.
Protesters have staged weekly demonstrations along the border for the last 18 months, calling for an end to a security blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt. They also want for Palestinians to have the right to return to land from which their families fled or were forced to flee during Israel’s founding in 1948.
Israel rejects any such return, saying that would eliminate its Jewish majority. The blockade, it says, is necessary to stop weapons reaching Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, which has fought three wars with Israel in the past decade.
The blockade has crippled the economy in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip that is home to about 2 million people.
(Reporting by Akram El-Satarri; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Alex Richardson)