18 Gaza protesters wounded by Israel gunfire: ministry

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GAZA CITY: At least 18 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire yesterday in small protests along the Gaza border, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said.

The 18 were hit with live ammunition as a few thousand gathered in different spots along the heavily-guarded border line, the ministry said.

None were reported to be in life-threatening condition. Palestinians in Gaza have since March 30, especially yesterays,  held often violent protests backed by the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

Numbers have dwindled since a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel earlier this month after a flare-up. At least 235 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since March, mostly by Israeli fire during border clashes but also by air and tank strikes. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during an aborted special forces operation inside Gaza. Protesters are calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel. —Agencies

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