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5 Palestinians injured by Israeli fire near Gaza border

By AFP - Apr 18,2018 - Last updated at Apr 18,2018

Palestinians evacuate an injured protester during confrontations with Israeli forces near the border with Israel, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip, on April 15 (AFP photo)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Five Palestinians were injured by Israeli occupation forces’ fire along the Gaza border on Wednesday, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said.

The five were injured by Israeli artillery fire east of Khan Younis, according to the ministry.

It said the men were on a base belonging to the military wing of Gaza’s Islamist resistance rulers Hamas when they were struck.

Israeli occupation forces confirmed it had fired on five Palestinians it claimed had approached the border.

In a statement, the Israeli army claimed that at least one of the men was armed. It did not provide details on what type of fire its forces used.

The Gaza border has witnessed demonstrations since March 30.

Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 34 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of other protesters since the demonstrations began, calling for the right of return of Palestinian refugees that were forced to flee their homes amid violence surrounding the creation of Israel. There have been no Israeli casualties during the protests.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to “stop damage to the fence, infiltrations and attempts at attacks”.

But Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers, while the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent probe, saying its open-fire rules are necessary to “defend the border”.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

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