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15 Palestinians die in clashes with Israeli troops


Fifteen Palestinian protesters were killed on Friday in confrontations with Israeli security forces along the Gaza border as Gazans marked Land Day, a spokesman from the Health Ministry in Gaza told Efe.
Ashraf al-Qedra said that about 2,000 other Palestinians were injured during the protests called by Hamas in observance of Land Day, which symbolizes the demand of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to their homeland.
The Israeli Defence Forces said in a statement that "17,000 Palestinians are rioting in five locations along the Gaza Strip security fence."
"The rioters are rolling burning tires and hurling firebombs and rocks at the security fence and IDF troops, who are responding with riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators," the statement added.
Youths hurled stones at soldiers, who fired tear gas in order to disperse the thousands of men, women and children gathered in the area, witnesses told Efe.
The witnesses estimated the number of participants at around 40,000.
Other Palestinian factions have joined Hamas in promoting the "Great Return March," which envisions maintaining a presence of hundreds of protesters along the Gaza border between now and May 15, when Palestinians commemorate what they call the Nakba (Catastrophe), referring to the exile and dispossession of Arabs that accompanied the founding of Israel in 1948.
Earlier Friday, a Palestinian was killed and another injured by Israeli tank fire in southern Gaza.
"Two suspects approached the Southern Gaza Strip border in the morning in a suspicious manner. In response, the army tank fired at them," an IDF spokesman told EFE.
The Land Day tradition was spurred by the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli forces fatally shot six Palestinian protesters.

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First Published: Mar 31 2018 | 2:58 AM IST

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