GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories, Oct 12, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Six Palestinians were killed in new clashes along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.
It said the six men, ranging from 17 to 29 in age, had been killed as thousands of protesters approached the heavily-guarded Israeli border.
Four were killed along the frontier east of Al-Bureij in the centre of the coastal territory, while another died east of Gaza City and one near Rafah in southern Gaza, a ministry spokesman told AFP.
The Israeli army said approximately 14,000 “rioters and demonstrators” had gathered at various sites along the border.
A statement said troops “spotted a number of assailants who climbed the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip”.
It said they planted an “explosive device” which blew up and “set the security fence on fire”.
The assailants subsequently approached an Israeli border post and were shot, the statement said.
“The assailants were killed,” it said, without giving a number.
At least 204 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests began on March 30.
The majority were killed during border demonstrations, though others have died in airstrikes and tank shelling.
One Israeli soldier has been killed.
The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to lands now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of the Jewish state.
They are also calling for Israel to end its crippling blockade of the strip.
Israel accuses the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas of leading the protests and using them as a cover for attacks.
There had been hopes the protests would ease after a UN-brokered agreement to ease the strip’s energy crisis took effect this week.
However thousands again gathered Friday in sites along the border, AFP correspondents said.
They added that Hamas leader Ismail Haniya also attended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the ongoing demonstrations.