The Israeli army killed two more Palestinians Friday during a Great March of Return protest at the Gaza Strip, and at least 76 people were wounded as violence between the two sides has continued to escalate after Israel has responded to border jumpers with bullets and bombs.
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A 14 and a 17-year-old died, and 66 Palestinians were injured in the Gaza Strip in clashes with the Israeli army, over half from live ammunition, on the eastern border of the enclave, according to Haaretz. East of Gaza City, 14-year-old Khaled Abu Bakr al-Rubaie was shot dead and Ali al-Ashqar, 17, was shot in the head east of Jabalya.
This Friday marked the 73rd week that Palestinians fight to take back their land within Palestine that has been increasingly annexed and occupied by Israel over the past several decades. More than 6,000 protesters had gathered along the fence that physically divides Gaza from Israel.
"The protesters threw a large amount of explosive devices, grenades and incendiary bombs against the security fence during the clashes, which were especially violent," said the Israeli military statement and added that the soldiers "responded with riot dispersal means.
The Hamas, which governs in the Strip, warned Israel that it is "completely responsible for the deaths of two teenagers." The government spokesperson, Hazem Qasem, said "these crimes will not stop the Palestinian struggle for freedom."
This newest round of violence began back in August when Israeli soldiers shot at Palestinian protesters trying to breach the wall. Since then the two sides have exchanged rockets and three other March of Return protesters were killed back on Aug. 17, according to the AFP.
Since the marches began back in 2018, there have been, according to the Gazati Ministry of Health, a total 310 dead Palestinians and more than 17,000 injured by Israeli fire in the protests.
"Israel is stepping up attacks against nonviolent protesters and it will be held accountable for these crimes," Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem said on Friday after the deaths of Ashqar and Rubaie were reported.
"The policy of targeting civilians will not deter the Palestinian people from continuing to fight for their freedom, and the return of their land," he added.
The mainly unarmed demonstrators are demanding that Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homeland and for the end of the Israeli blockade that has been starving and depriving the Gaza enclave of resources since 2007.
A senior Hamas official says that the region’s joint war room between several Palestinian factions is currently considering whether to respond to the killing of the two youths.
Last week, Bader Adin Abu Mousa was killed in similar circumstances when another 75 people were wounded also at the border fence by Israeli soldiers.