Palestinians: 2 teens killed by Israeli fire in Gaza protest

USA World

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Two Palestinians, ages 17 and 14, were killed by Israeli gunfire Friday during protests along the perimeter fence separating Gaza and Israel, Gaza health officials said.

The teenagers’ deaths mark an uptick in Israeli lethal fire after months of relatively restrained demonstrations. Health officials did not release additional details on Friday’s deaths.

The Israeli military blamed the more than 6,000 Palestinian protesters for the “especially violent” protests. It said the demonstrators hurled “a large amount of explosive devices, grenades and firebombs” and damaged parts of the fence.

Israeli forces also detained two Palestinians who crossed the frontier into Israel.

Sami al-Ashqar, 17, was shot in the neck in northern Gaza Strip and Khaled al-Rabie, 14, was hit in the chest in east Gaza City, doctors and the health ministry said.

The ministry said 46 others were wounded by live fire. The Israeli army said it used “riot dispersal means.”

Gaza’s Hamas rulers launched regular weekend protests in March 2018 to demand the easing of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has crippled the territory since 2007.

More than 200 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed during the marches, which have been subdued in recent months after mediators brokered an unofficial cease-fire.

Hamas says Israel doesn’t honor the agreement.