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Israel targets protesting Palestinians in Gaza, dozens wounded

Israeli troops fire on Palestinians demonstrating against crippling siege of the congested enclave, wounding 24 people including 10 children, says Gaza Health Ministry.

A wounded Palestinian is carried after taking part in a protest at Israel-Gaza security fence east of Gaza City, on August 21, 2021. (Reuters)

Israeli troops have targeted Palestinian protesters who were demonstrating against the siege of the blockaded enclave near Gaza’s fence, with the Gaza Health Ministry reporting 24 injuries.

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“Twenty-four civilians were injured, including 10 children,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“Two of the injuries are critical, one of whom is a 13-year-old boy, who was hit in the head east of Gaza City.”

The Israeli army told AFP news agency that “hundreds of rioters and demonstrators” had gathered along the fence.

“Troops are prepared in the area and are using riot dispersal means, and if necessary, .22 calibre rounds,” the army said.

Protest to mark Al Aqsa burning

Hamas that governs Gaza had called a protest to mark the burning 52 years ago of occupied Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

“Al Aqsa Mosque is a red line, and any attack on it will be met with valiant resistance from our people,” the movement said in a statement.

The protest came exactly three months since Israel and Hamas reached a truce following Israel’s war and bombardment in besieged Gaza.

Over 11 days in May, Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes as Gazans fired back rockets from the enclave.

Hamas took the action after Israeli forces and illegal settlers stormed Al Aqsa.

Crippling blockade

Reconstruction in Gaza has stalled since a May 21 ceasefire, in part because of a crippling blockade Israel has maintained on the enclave since Hamas came to power in 2007.

On Thursday, Israel announced it would allow funds from Qatar to reach impoverished Palestinians in Gaza. Other restrictions remain.

In 2018, Gazans began a protest movement demanding an end to Israel’s blockade and a right for Palestinians to return to lands they fled after the Jewish state was founded.

The Hamas-backed weekly demonstrations sputtered as Israel killed some 350 Palestinians in Gaza over more than a year.

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