Israeli forces have once again opened fire on Palestinians taking part in protests near the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied territories, leaving at least 28 people wounded.
The Gaza Health Ministry said the 28 people were hit with live ammunition in Gaza on Friday. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman for the ministry, said a journalist was among the casualties.
Tensions have been running high near the fence, separating Gaza from the occupied territories, since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests called “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
The deadly clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington’s relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
Some 240 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.
On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said around 1,000 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces during the anti-occupation protests have infections that could leave them permanently crippled.
The international medical charity also warned that a “slow-motion healthcare emergency is unfolding in Gaza” as hospitals, already under-equipped due to Israeli siege, were being overwhelmed by the “huge numbers of patients with complex and serious gunshot wounds”.
Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
In early July 2014, Israel waged a war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also wounded in the war.