GAZA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Since the break out of rallies and protests close to the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel, the Israeli army has shot dead 116 Palestinians and wounded over 13,000 others, medics said Saturday.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of Gaza health ministry, told reporters that death toll climbed to 116 after Hussein Abu Oweida, 41 years old, from Gaza died of his wounds he sustained a few days ago in eastern Gaza.
"Among the 13,000 injured, around 300 wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are still in serious and critical condition," said al-Qedra, adding that "their lives are still in danger after they had been shot by Israeli soldiers' gunfire."
Medics and officials in the health ministry in Gaza expected that the death toll would further rise due to the large number of critically wounded cases and the severe shortage of medical facilities and needed medicines.
The main goals of the rallies, which the Palestinians call as the Great March of Return and broke out on March 30, are to end 11 years of an Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Suhair Zaqout, spokeswoman of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said in a press statement that the ICRC has increased its medical crews' presence side by side to the Palestinian medical crews to help treat the wounded in Gaza.
On Friday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders stressed that the Great March of Return will carry on until it achieves its goals of defying the Israeli blockade.
Yehya Sinwar, Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, arrived at eastern Rafah town close to the border with Israel to join the 9th Friday of the rallies.
He said the peaceful marches will go on, and called on the Palestinians for a large popular participation on June 5, the anniversary of the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967.