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Two Palestinians die of wounds from Gaza border clashes

Hamas-run health ministry says one of the men was shot several days ago; the other had been transferred to Hebron for treatment

Palestinian paramedics carry a wounded man during a demonstration at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 4, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Palestinian paramedics carry a wounded man during a demonstration at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 4, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Two Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border died Thursday of their wounds, Palestinian health officials in Gaza and the West Bank said.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said that Ahmed Qutoosh, 23, was shot by soldiers “several days ago” east of Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip, without giving further details.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, medical officials told AFP that 21-year-old Mohanad Abu Tahun had been wounded in the Gaza clashes and transferred to the city’s Al-Ahli Hospital on Wednesday.

They did not say on which date he was shot.

He was one of many Gaza casualties moved out of the coastal enclave for treatment after the bloody border clashes left hospitals there overwhelmed.

Tensions along the Gaza border have been high since March 30, which marked the start of a series of violent protests along the security fence, known collectively as the “March of Return.”

A total of at least 121 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the protests started, according to authorities in Gaza, which is run by the Islamist terror movement Hamas.

The violence reached a peak last Monday, when over 40,000 Palestinians took part in an “unprecedentedly” violent riot along the border, according to the army. The latest deaths bring the toll from last week to 66. Hamas has said at least 50 of those deaths were its members, as were some of the previous fatalities.

Thousands of demonstrators burned tires, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops across the fence and, in a few cases, engaged in armed battles with the IDF.

Israel says its forces have opened fire to stop attempts to harm soldiers, damage the fence, infiltrate Israel and attempt to carry out attacks. Israel accuses Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Israeli officials said that Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, was trying to get mobs of Gazans through the fence, including its own gunmen, potentially to carry out attacks inside Israel, and that the IDF’s primary obligation was to ensure that did not happen.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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