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136th Palestinian killed as Gaza protests against Israel enter 4th month

Palestinian medical staff carry a wounded woman during a protest within the "Great March of Return" demonstrations near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian medical staff carry a wounded protester during the 'Great March of Return' demonstrations near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian taking part in a border protests was killed on Friday, Gazan medical officials said, bringing to 136 the number killed in the confrontations that have often drawn a lethal Israeli army response since they began on March 30.

The Gaza Health Ministry said the 22-year-old died of a chest wound. It said Israeli shelling wounded eight people in the same location, east of Gaza City, though it was not clear if the two incidents were linked.

Israel's military denied shelling, saying troops used "riot dispersal means" including gunfire as they confronted 3,000 Palestinians at five points along the border fence, some rolling burning tyres and throwing rocks, and that "a number of terrorists" approached the border fence with a bomb.

"The explosive device went off within the Gaza Strip and injured several Palestinians," it said.

The Gaza Health ministry said almost 400 people were wounded in Friday's protests, 57 of them from live bullets.

Read: Sweden calls for Israel to lift the siege of Gaza

Home to 2 million Palestinians, more than half of them war refugees and their descendents, Gaza has suffered deep poverty and infrastructure collapses under a 12-year blockade by Israel and Egypt, which say they aim to curb Hamas threats.

Israel, facing international condemnation over its tactics, accuses Hamas of orchestrating the sometimes violent protests to distract from their governance problems and provide cover for armed cross-border attacks. Organisers have described the border protests as spontaneous outpourings of frustration, as has Hamas.

The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) , said on Wednesday that 79 percent of Palestinians want PA to lift sanctions off Gaza, with just 17 per cent saying such measures should be removed "only after Hamas fully hands over control over the Strip to the reconciliation government".

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