Palestinians gather for mass protests along Gaza-Israel border

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Gaza's Health Ministry says a 28-year-old Palestinian man has been killed by Israeli fire in a mass protest on the Gaza-Israel border. The marchers are protesting against the blockade, but are also asserting what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel.

The IDF acknowledged it used live ammunition to disperse the crowds, saying demonstrators burned tires and Israeli flags.

According to the Gaza Strip's Health Ministry, 112 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli army fire or treated for tear gas inhalation.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Friday that Palestinians repeatedly tried to damage the border fence, throwing several explosives and fire bombs.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has raised concerns about Gaza's capacity to handle thousands of wounded in the past several weeks, highlighting the besieged enclave's already strained resources.

His death brings to 34 the number of Palestinians martyred in two weeks of Return protests and clashes along Gaza's border with "Israel".

"We, a group of former combatants who were members of sniper teams, seek to express our feelings of distress regarding the recent incidents in the Gaza Strip", the letter said.

Palestinians hurled stones and burning tyres near the frontier fence, where Israeli army sharpshooters are deployed.

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"We want to affirm our denial of their existence on our lands by burning their flag, and call for our right of return", Said Nedal Al-majthoub, another demonstrator, told MEE.

Israel alleges Hamas is using protests as a cover for attacks.

Since the start of the border unrest at the end of March, more than 30 Palestinian rioters have been killed.

The protests began as a plan to peacefully gather near the border, an idea that has since been supported by Hamas and other political parties.

We are still calling for an independent and effective investigation into reports that #Israeli soldiers unlawfully used firearms and other excessive force against unarmed protesters since 30 March in #Gaza.

Many protesters left for midday prayers but larger numbers are expected to gather in five spots along the border on Friday afternoon.

The Israeli military has argued that Gaza militant groups are trying to turn the border area into a combat zone, and said it has a right to defend its sovereign border. At the entrance, organizers had laid a large Israeli flag on the ground for protesters to step on.

Denouncing Israel's "horrifying use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters", Mughrabi also noted that "under worldwide law, lethal force can only be used when unavoidable to protect against imminent threats to life". It has said that soldiers fire live bullets as a last resort, in a "precise and measured manner".

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