Six Palestinians martyred in clashes on Israel border

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GAZA CITY: Six Palestinians were martyred in new clashes along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

The Israeli army said five were shot dead after breaking through the border fence and attacking an army post.

A spokesman for the Palestinian health ministry said six Palestinian men were martyred as thousands of protesters approached the heavily-guarded Israeli border.

Four died along the frontier east of Al-Bureij in central Gaza, one east of Gaza City and one near Rafah in southern Gaza, the spokesman said, adding that all the victims were men aged between 17 and 29.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter an “organised attack” had involved around 20 Palestinians crossing the border after an explosive device destroyed a portion of the fence.

Five then tried to attack an army base and were shot, he said.

The army said approximately 14,000 “rioters and demonstrators” took part in Friday’s protests.

At least 204 Palestinians have been martyred by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests began on March 30.

The majority were killed during border demonstrations, though others have died in airstrikes and tank shelling.

One Israeli soldier has been killed.

The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to lands now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of the Jewish state.

They are also calling for Israel to end its crippling blockade of the strip.

Israel accuses the enclave’s rulers Hamas of leading the protests and using them as a cover for attacks.

There had been hopes the protests would ease after a UN-brokered agreement to ease the strip’s energy crisis took effect this week.

However, thousands again gathered Friday in sites along the border,

They added that Hamas leader Ismail Haniya also attended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the ongoing demonstrations.

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