Death toll on Gaza-Israel border rises to seven: ministry

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Palestinian protestors run for cover from tear gas fired by the Israeli security forces during clashes as they protest along the border with Israel east of Gaza City in the Gaza Strip to commemorate Land Day on March 30, 2018.
Land Day marks the killing of six Arab Israelis during 1976 demonstrations against Israeli confiscations of Arab land. / AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS

At least seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Friday, Gaza’s health ministry said, as bloody clashes flared along the enclave’s border.

Mahmoud Rahmi, 33, became the seventh person killed when he was shot near the frontier in one of the bloodiest days of Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years, according to the ministry.

His death came shortly after Jihad Farina, 33, and 16-year-old Ahmed Ouda were killed in similar circumstances, it said.

Three other protesters were shot dead, while a farmer died when he was hit by a tank shell, the health ministry said.

Tens of thousands of people took part in protests along the border with Israel that Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas had said would be peaceful.

Smaller numbers approached the heavily guarded border in apparent attempts to breach the fence, as Israeli troops fired live ammunition after their leadership vowed to prevent any infiltrations.

Israel’s military said protestors were throwing stones and firebombs at soldiers while rolling burning tyres.

More than 200 people were hit by live fire during the clashes, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

There were no reports of Israelis injured or killed.