60 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza: medics

At least 60 Palestinian demonstrators were injured on Friday afternoon during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the eastern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel, medics said.

The clashes between the Palestinian demonstrators and the Israeli soldiers were part of the weekly anti-Israel rally, better known as the Great March of Return, which started in late March of 2018.

Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Health Ministry in Gaza, told reporters that 60 demonstrators were hospitalized, including 19 children, a paramedic and a photojournalist.

At least 25 were shot and wounded by Israeli gunfire in eastern Gaza, he added.

Dozens suffered suffocation after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli soldiers on the border between the eastern Gaza Strip and Israel, the Gaza spokesman noted.

The Highest Commission of the Great March of Return earlier called on the Gazans to join the weekly protests in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 56th Friday rally, which also called for ending the internal Palestinian division.

“Gaining Palestinian unity is the best option for the Palestinians to face the current critical political situation,” said the commission.

Meanwhile, the Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanou said in an e-mailed press statement that the participants in the weekly protests “reflect the eagerness of the Palestinians to end the internal division and achieve unity.”

The Palestinians have been divided since 2007 when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip while the West Bank remained under the rule of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party.

The Israeli blockade and the internal Palestinian division between Hamas and Fatah have been negatively influencing all aspects of life, mainly in the Gaza Strip.

During more than a year of weekly protests in the eastern Gaza Strip, the health ministry in the coastal enclave said the Israeli army has shot and killed 272 Palestinians and wounded more than 16,000 others.