GAZA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- At least 69 Palestinian demonstrators were injured in clashes on Friday afternoon with Israeli soldiers stationed on the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel, a local official said.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the health ministry in Gaza, said in an emailed press statement that 69 Palestinian demonstrators were injured in eastern Gaza, including 29 who were shot and injured by Israeli soldiers' gunfire.
Hundreds of Palestinians flocked to the eastern border of the Gaza Strip with Israel to join the weekly anti-Israel rallies and protests, also known as the Great March of Return, that has been going on since late March last year.
Eyewitnesses said demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, chanted anti-Israel slogans and threw stones at the soldiers stationed at the borderline area, who fired dozens of tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets.
Field paramedics said that dozens were injured after inhaling intensive tear gas fired by the Israeli soldiers and some were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets. Most of the casualties were treated in the field, they said.
Israeli media reported that Gaza demonstrators released dozen of arson balloons into southern Israel and also threw homemade hand grenades and percussion bombs at the soldiers stationed at the borders.
Ahmad Bahar, a senior Hamas leader from Gaza, told reporters that the masses of participants in the Great March of Return "again show our people's will to topple all the planned plots against our cause."
He stressed that the marches will never stop until it achieves its goals of lifting the Israeli siege that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007 when Hamas movement seized control of the enclave.
The Highest Commission of GMR has earlier called on the coastal enclave's populations to join the 82nd Friday of the weekly rallies to protest "to send a message that the marches will go on."
The health ministry in Gaza said earlier in a statement that since the marches and rallies started in late March last year, the Israeli army has killed 313 demonstrators and wounded 19,000 others in eastern Gaza Strip.