At least seven Palestinians, among them two children aged 12 and 14, were killed, and 505 others were injured Friday from Israeli gunfire during protests, according to Reuters citing Palestinian health authorities.
The protests marked the 27th Friday since the March of Return demonstrations started on March 30th. At least 191 Palestinians have been killed since then while protesting for the right to return to lands they had to flee due to Israel's occupations in 1948.
The demonstrators are also protesting economic blockades by Israel and Egypt. Friday's protests marked the 18th anniversary of the beginning of the last Palestinian uprising.
The Israeli military forces argued that troops had resorted to live-fire, as well as two airstrikes - after explosive devices on kites and balloons and rocks were thrown at them - to prevent breaches in the border fence.
During the protest, several Palestinians accessed Israel by removing the barbed wire fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, through spokesperson Fawzi Barhum, declared in a statement that the presence of thousands of protesters "is a clear message for all of those who threaten the Gaza Strip."
Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since 2007 putting the region’s population of more than two million Palestinians into a humanitarian crisis due to the lack of access to medicine, food, clean water, free movement as well as basic civil rights.