Officials: One killed, 163 wounded by Israeli fire
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP):
Thousands of Palestinians, some burning Israeli flags and torching tires, staged a mass protest on Gaza's sealed border with Israel for a third consecutive Friday as part of a pressure campaign to break a decade-old blockade of their territory.
Israeli live fire from across the border fence killed a 28-year-old Palestinian man and wounded at least 163, Gaza health officials said. The death brought to 28 the number of protesters killed in two weeks, with hundreds wounded by Israeli fire since March 30.
The marches have been organised by Gaza's Hamas rulers, but large turnouts on two preceding Fridays were also driven by desperation among the territory's two million residents, who have been buckling under a crippling border closure by Israel and Egypt since 2007.
"We want to live like everyone else in the world," said 37-year-old construction worker Omar Hamada, an unemployed father of eight. "We came here so the world can see us and know that life here is miserable and that there should be a solution."
On Friday, the turnout seemed to be significantly lower than on previous Fridays - some 10,000 protesters, according to the Israeli military - raising questions about the organisers' goal of keeping the mass marches going until mid-May. By nightfall, the casualty toll was also lower than in previous rallies.
Gaza's health ministry said that at least 701 people were wounded yesterday, including 163 by live fire and the rest by tear gas or rubber-coated steel pellets. Among those hurt was a Gaza journalist who was in serious condition with a bullet wound in the abdomen.