69 Palestinians injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza: medics

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GAZA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 69 Palestinians were injured on Friday during clashes with Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip along the borders with Israel, medics said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Health Ministry in Gaza told reporters that 69 Palestinian demonstrators were injured, of whom 26 were shot by Israeli soldiers' gunfire in eastern Gaza Strip close to the borders with Israel.

Clashes broke out on Friday afternoon between hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-Israel protests, also known as the "Great March of Return."

The weekly marches and protests have been going on since March 30 last year, calling on Israel to end more than 12 years of a tight blockade that Israel has imposed on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Gaza demonstrators waved Palestine flags, approached the fence of the borders with Israel, chanted slogans against Israel and threw stones and homemade hand grenades on the soldiers and their vehicles stationed on the border.

The Health Ministry in Gaza has earlier said in an emailed press statement that since the weekly protests had started at the end of March last year, the Israeli army killed 312 demonstrators and wounded more than 19,000 by live gunfire.

Hamas officials in Gaza have stressed that the participation of the popular masses of demonstrators "is to show that the Palestinian people are sticking to getting their legitimate rights by resistance."

They said that keeping the marches going on "shows the failure of the (Israeli) occupation to defeat the protests or stop it," adding "the marches insist that the unfair siege must be lifted and the Palestinians must get their rights." Enditem

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