The Latest: 33 protesters wounded at Gaza-Israel border
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on protests at Gaza border with Israel (all times local):
Health officials say 33 Palestinians have been injured as protests along the Gaza-Israel fence began.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said Saturday ten people have sustained injuries from live fire coming from Israeli troops, who also fired tear gas as dozens of protesters approached the fence.
The territory’s Hamas rulers are trying to restrain the rallies.
The militant group hopes a calmer demonstration would allow for the implementation an Egyptian-brokered agreement with Israel to ease the economic blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007.
The Israeli army says that some 20,000 Palestinians are gathering along the Gaza fence for the mass rally marking one year of weekly demonstrations aimed at breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
The military said Saturday that protesters hurled stones and explosive devices at the fence and set tires ablaze.
It added that most of the demonstrators remained in encampments away from the border fence.
The army said it was responding with riot dispersal means and live fire “in accordance with standard operating procedures.”
Crowds of Palestinians are heading to rallying points near the Israeli border fence an hour before the planned mass rally to mark one year of weekly protests in the Gaza Strip.
Dozens of volunteers in fluorescent vests prepared to restrain demonstrators from getting too close to the border fence. Ambulances lined up in front of clinics and police supervised encampments erected far from the fence.
Some protesters started approaching the barrier, prompting Israeli forces to respond with tear gas.
Fouad Aishan, 40, came with his five children to the frontier. He said he plans to show his children the Israeli soldiers and return to safety before the march started.
“I come here driven by personal national motivation,” he said. “It has nothing to do with what the politicians do.”
Gaza’s Health Ministry says a Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces near the perimeter fence with Israel, hours before an expected mass protest there.
The ministry said 21-year-old Mohammed Saad was shot early Saturday at a protest camp near the fence. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
The fatal shooting came hours before Palestinians were to hold a large rally, capping a year of weekly marches against the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, imposed after the 2007 takeover of the territory by Hamas.
Egypt has been trying to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Palestinians with knowledge of the talks have said that as part of the proposed deal, Gaza protesters were to keep away from the fence Saturday and Israeli snipers were to hold their fire.