GAZA – Six Palestinians were shot and killed on Friday by Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Gaza border during a weekly protest rally, according to a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry.
Ashraf al-Qedra identified two of the six victims as Ahmad al-Tawil, 27, and Mohamed Ismail, 29, adding that they were killed in a protest that took place in central Gaza and was attended by nearly 1,000 people.
A total of 60 Palestinians, including 10 minors, were hospitalized in the east of the strip with gunshot wounds, al-Qedra added.
The Israel Defense Forces claimed in a statement that troops had responded to being thrown burning tires, stones, Molotov cocktails (firebombs) and hand grenades by using means of mass dispersion following standard protocol.
Soldiers had only shot at assailants attempting to climb the border fence and enter Israeli territory, the IDF added.
The weekly border protests began March 30 as part of the Great March of Return, an action demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes and pressing the Israelis to end the blockade they imposed on Gaza back in 2007.
Since the beginning of the marches, a total of 202 Palestinians have been killed both in protests and clashes that have taken place on the Gaza-Israel border, while a dozen members of militias have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.