Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Jan. 4, 2019. Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators reached on Friday afternoon the eastern area of the Gaza Strip, close to the fence of the border with Israel to join the 41st Friday of the "Great March of Return." (Xinhua)
GAZA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators reached on Friday afternoon the eastern area of the Gaza Strip, close to the fence of the border with Israel to join the 41st Friday of the "Great March of Return."
The highest commission of the marches of return had earlier called on the Gaza Strip populations to join the protests. The commission called it this time "Friday of resisting normalization."
Eyewitnesses and field paramedics said that clashes broke out in eastern Gaza Strip between dozens of demonstrators and Israeli soldiers stationed at the border area, adding that the soldiers fired tear gas and live gunshots at the demonstrators, according to local radio station al-Sha'b.
They said that 10 protesters, including a young girl, had been shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers gunfire and were immediately referred to the hospital.
Ashraf al Qedra, spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, told reporters that at least ten protesters were injured by Israeli soldiers' gunfire, including a female child and one paramedic, adding that dozens suffered suffocation after inhaling Israeli tear gas.
Eyewitnesses said that three arson balloons were released from the area into southern Israel, while several demonstrators cut the barbed wire of the fence of the border and went into Israel and then returned back into Gaza area, according to local media reports.
Ismail Redwan, a senior Hamas movement's official, who joined the marches of return in eastern Gaza, told reporters that the marches of return will go on until the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for 12 years will be lifted.
Meanwhile, the health ministry in Gaza said in an emailed press statement that it condemned the Israeli soldiers' aggressive and hostile manner of opening fire at peaceful demonstrators.
Al Qedra has earlier stated that since the beginning of the marches of return and breaking the siege in March 30, the Israeli army has shot and killed more than 240 Palestinians and wounded more than 25,000 others.