UPDATE – 7 Palestinians shot dead near Gaza-Israel buffer zone


By Mohamed Majed and Mustafa Haboush

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least seven Palestinian protesters were martyred on Friday by Israeli army gunfire near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

In a written statement issued by the ministry, seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli bullets.

According to the ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra, in today’s demonstrations Mohammad Isam Abbas, 21, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tawil, 27, Mohamed Abdel Hafiz Ismael, 29, Ahmed Ahmed Abu Naim, 17, Abdullah Berham ad-Da’ame, 25, Tamir Eyyad Abu Arman, 22, and Afifi Mohammad Ata Afifi, 18, were confirmed dead.

According to al-Qidra, another 154 Palestinians were injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

According to the Health Ministry, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred — and thousands more injured — since the rallies began on March 30.