Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, March 22, 2019. At least two Palestinians were shot dead on Friday afternoon by Israeli gunfire during the weekly anti-Israel protests, better known as "the Great March of Return," a medic told reporters. (Xinhua/Yasser Qudih)
GAZA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- At least two Palestinians were shot dead and more than 62 injured by Israeli soldiers' gunfire in clashes with hundreds of demonstrators in eastern Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon, medics said.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Health Ministry in Gaza, told Xinhua that 29-year-old Nidal Shatat was killed in east of al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, close to the borders with Israel, while 18-year-old Khaled al-Akhsham was shot dead in east of the city.
Clashes broke out on Friday afternoon between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip as part of the one-year rallies, better known as "the Great March of Return," which have been going on for 51 weeks now.
Eyewitnesses in various areas in eastern Gaza Strip said that clashes broke out during the weekly anti-Israel protests, where they waved Palestinians flags, burned tires close to the fence of the borders with Israel and threw stones at the soldiers stationed on the borders.
They said that the soldiers fired dozens of tear gas canisters at the protesters, as well as rubber bullets and live gunshots to keep them away from reaching the barbed wires of the border fence.
Israeli media reported that hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators threw around 200 homemade bombs at the Israeli army forces stationed on the borderline area with the Gaza Strip, adding that no injuries were reported among the soldiers.
Al-Qedra, told reporters earlier on Friday that Israeli soldiers fired dozens of tear gas canisters at a medical booth east of al-Bureij Refugee camp in central Gaza Strip.
He added that dozens suffered suffocation because of inhaling strong tear gas, adding that more than ten were shot and wounded by the Israeli gunfire including two young men who were seriously injured.
The scenes of clashes with Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip have been going on since the start of the marches of return on March 30 last year.
Health Ministry officials said earlier that the Israeli army shot and killed more than 260 Palestinians and wounded 29,000 others. Around 40 percent of them were injured by Israeli army gunfire.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas movement's chief, participated on Friday afternoon with several Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in the weekly anti-Israel marches of return held in eastern Gaza city.
He stressed that "the marches of returns will continue until their objectives are achieved, and the occupier must understand the message. Otherwise, the next one is more difficult, and all parties must shoulder their responsibilities."
Dawood Shihab, spokesman of the Islamic Jihad and member of the highest commission of the marches of return, announced that next Friday "there will be no marches of return."
"'The Great March of Return will be on Saturday (March 30), to mark one year for the marches of return and on the occasion of the Palestinian Land Day anniversary," he told the pro-Hamas al-Aqsa Satellite TV Station.