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Deaths by Israeli fire darken Eid Al Fitr holiday in Gaza

By Agencies - Jun 15,2018 - Last updated at Jun 15,2018

The mother of Palestinian Hiatham Al Jamal, 15, who was killed during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, grieves as she shows clothes he bought to wear during Eid Al Fitr holiday, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on Thursday (Reuters photo)

GAZA — Israel's killing of at least 130 Palestinians during protests at the Gaza border is casting a shadow in the enclave on its celebration of Eid Al Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Economic hardship arising from years of blockades, conflict and internal political rivalries has also darkened the mood in the Islamist Hamas-run territory of two million people, where Gaza economists put the unemployment rate at 49.9 per cent, according to Reuters.

"This is the toughest eid of my life," Worod Al Jamal, whose 15-year-old son Haitham was killed by Israeli occupation forces’ fire at a protest on June 7, said on Thursday on the eve of the holiday, Reuters reported.

She showed reporters the new pair of jeans, shoes and a T-shirt her son bought just two days before his death. Purchasing new clothing is part of the holiday tradition.

Dozens of other families in Gaza are also in mourning this year. Deepening poverty has only compounded a sense of despair.

"The situation is bad... Purchasing power is very weak and sales this year are at their lowest in years," said Omar Al Bayouk, whose clothing shop, like many others stores in Gaza, was virtually devoid of customers in the run-up to the holiday, according to Reuters.

In Gaza's Nusseirat refugee camp, Abdel-Rahman Nofal, 15, shopped with his father for new clothes.

“I bought a pair of shoes but I will only be able to wear one shoe. The other, I will keep at home,” said the teen, whose left leg was amputated after he was wounded by Israeli occupation gunfire at one of the protests.

Palestinians have been holding mass demonstrations at the border to demand a right of return to their homeland from which they were forced to flee amid violence surrounding the creation of Israel. 

On Thursday, a Palestinian shot by Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza border succumbed to his wounds, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said. The Palestinian death toll now stands at 130 killed by Israeli forces, Agence France-Presse reported. 

Ahmed Al Assi, 21, was shot East of Khan Younis on June 8, a ministry statement said.

It said he was wounded in the head and had been in critical condition.

No Israelis have been killed.

The UN General Assembly condemned Israel on Wednesday for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians. The United States called the resolution one-sided, saying it did not mention Hamas and accusing the group of initiating the occupation violence.

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