UPDATE 2 – Israel intercepts Gaza flotilla; Palestinians injured

UPDATES INJURY TOLL

By Hidaya al-Saedi and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least 49 Palestinians were injured when the Israeli navy targeted a 20-vessel flotilla that set out Monday from the northern Gaza Strip in hopes of breaking the decade-long blockade of the coastal enclave.

The people were wounded by gunfire and suffocation by gas bombs, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement.

Some 10 wounded have been transferred to hospitals for treatment, the ministry added.

Eye witnesses told Anadolu Agency the injured included Atiyyeh Hijazi, a journalist who works for Iran's Al-Alam television channel.

Once the flotilla — the seventh of its kind — reached Gaza’s maritime border, Israeli navy opened intense fire on it.

For the last 11 years, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade that has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since March 30, Palestinians in Gaza have been holding regular demonstrations against the blockade near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

Since the rallies kicked off more than five months ago, over 170 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops deployed along the buffer zone.

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