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Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

28th Dec, 2019. 12:52 am
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Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months

Hundreds of Palestinians took part in protests along the Gaza-Israel border, the last of the Hamas-backed demonstrations until March.

According to international news agency, amid heavy rain and wind, the rallies had the lowest turnout in months, with tensions far lower than in previous weeks and no live fire by the Israeli army, a correspondent said.

The army fired however some volleys of tear gas in the southern Gaza Strip after protesters in the border town of Rafah and in Khan Yunis approached the fence, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers on the other side of the frontier.

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The often violent weekly protests began in March 2018, calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and for Palestinians to be allowed to return to their ancestral homes inside the Jewish state.

Israel contends that any return of Palestinian refugees or their descendants would mean an end to its status as a Jewish state and accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the protests as a cover for attacks.

At least 348 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since the marches began, the majority during the demonstrations, according to an AFP toll.

A further 7,800 people have been wounded by gunfire, according to the World Health Organization.

Eight Israelis have been killed during the same period in Gaza-related violence.

Organizers announced on Thursday the protests would halt until March 2020 amid dwindling turnout.

Hamas has over the last year shaped a precarious informal truce with Israel, which has slightly eased its blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm along the border, despite intermittent flare-ups.

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