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Palestinians have held several demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border this year as they protest against Israel's refusal to allow them and their relatives to return to the lands they were displaced from
The Israeli Defense Forces opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators Friday, killing at least one person and wounding many others, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, nearly 6,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip gathered near the border to protest against Israel's discrimatory policies.
During the protest, the Israeli Defense Forces fired live rounds towards the protesters after they alleged "explosive devices and grenades were hurled" towards a military vehicle.
A military spokesman said troops responded with riot dispersal tactics and opened fire in accordance with standard operating procedures.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said that other than the man killed, 40 people were wounded, 18 of them by live fire.
Protesters have staged weekly demonstrations along the border for the last 18 months, calling for an end to a security blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt. They also want for Palestinians to have the right to return to land from which their families fled or were forced to flee during Israel’s founding in 1948.
Israel rejects any such return, saying that would eliminate its Jewish majority. The blockade, it says, is necessary to stop weapons reaching Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, which has fought three wars with Israel in the past decade.
The blockade has crippled the economy in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip that is home to about 2 million people.