GAZA: Palestinian medical officials said that 20 Gazans were wounded on Friday by Israeli fire during weekly clashes on the border, while Israeli police said one officer was hurt by an explosive device.
“Twenty injuries by the Israeli occupation forces with live ammunition,” the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement.
The Israeli army said that 11,000 “rioters and demonstrators” gathered at several points along the border barrier, with people throwing rocks at soldiers and the fence, as well as “several explosive devices and grenades” aimed at the troops.
“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and fired in accordance with standard operating procedures,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.
Israeli police said an officer operating at the border was lightly wounded by shrapnel in his leg.
Palestinians in Gaza have for nearly a year gathered at least weekly along the border for often-violent protests, calling on Israel to end its decade-long blockade of the enclave. At least 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since then, the majority shot during clashes, though others have been hit by tank fire or air strikes.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.
Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations and attacks, which it accuses Hamas of seeking to orchestrate. Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.
Israeli troops on Jan. 25 fatally shot a Palestinian and wounded another as they threw stones at Israeli motorists in the occupied West Bank, the army said.
Soldiers “responded by firing at the suspects, who received medical treatment. One of the suspects later died of his wounds and another was injured,” a statement said. Residents of the dead youth’s village of Silwad, near Ramallah, named him as Ayman Hamed, 17.
A Palestinian was also shot dead the same day by Israeli fire during fresh clashes along the Gaza border.