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Israeli Troops Kill Boy, 2 Men in Gaza Protests

Israeli Troops Kill Boy, 2 Men in Gaza ProtestsIsraeli Troops Kill Boy, 2 Men in Gaza Protests

Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians, one of them an 11-year-old boy, and wounded at least 248 others taking part on Friday in weekly protests at the fortified Gaza Strip border, Palestinian medical officials said.

The Israeli military contended it used force necessary to repel 13,000 Palestinians who massed at several points at the fence, Reuters reported.

Some hurled rocks and fire-bombs at troops under cover of smoke from burning tires.

Friday’s dead brought to 177 the number of Palestinians killed since the demonstrations were launched on March 30 to press demands against Israel. The 11-year-old, Shadi Abdel-Al, is the youngest fatality from Israeli gunfire.

“He used to go every Friday to the marches like thousands of other people. This Friday was his destiny to die as a martyr,” the boy’s father, Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Al, told Reuters.

Another Palestinian, 28-year-old Hashem Hassan, said he saw Abdel-Al being shot 70 meters from the fence, “He threw a few stones, which flew just a few yards. He posed no threat.”

Asked about Abdel-Al’s death, a military spokeswoman said only that troops had kept to their open-fire regulations.

Since March 30, Gaza has also seen shelling exchanges between the coastal enclave’s Hamas rulers and Israel.

Israel’s tactics against the protests have drawn international condemnation.

The protesters want rights to lands Palestinians lost during the 1948 war of Israel’s creation, as well as the easing of a crippling blockade that Israel, with the help of neighboring Egypt, has placed on Gaza to isolate Hamas.

UN and Egyptian mediators have been trying to reach a deal to calm Gaza, where Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the last decade.

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