Seven killed, 550 hurt in Israel-Gaza border clashes

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Gaza (Reuters): At least seven Palestinians have been killed and hundreds were injured by Israeli security forces confronting one of the largest Palestinian demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border in recent years, Gaza medical officials have said.

Amid a day of protests called by the militant group Hamas, a Palestinian farmer, was killed by an Israeli tank shell as he worked in a neighbouring field, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Israel had bolstered its security at the border ahead of the expected mass sit-ins, which mark the anniversary of the Palestinians’ “Land Day”, and the start of a month and a half of demonstrations over lost land in Gaza.

A Gazan official said 500 people had been hurt by tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire. The Israeli military said Palestinians rolled burning tyres and threw stones at Israeli forces who then retaliated with tear gas and fire at “main instigators.”

Ahead of the protests, called for by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, Israel’s military said it doubled its standard troop level along the border, deploying snipers, special forces and paramilitary border police units, which specialise in riot control.

The focal point of concern was a tent protest attended by tens of thousands of Gazans, including families with children, who gathered at several locations a few hundred metres from the border fence east of Gaza City.

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