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Dozens of Palestinians hurt in anti-Israel protests in Gaza, West Bank

RAS KARKAR, West Bank/GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli security forces wounded dozens of Palestinians taking part in protests in the occupied West Bank and along the Gaza Strip border on Friday, witnesses and medical officials said.

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At the West Bank village of Ras Karkar, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrating against Israeli land seizures for Jewish settlements threw stones at troops, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring at least a dozen people.

Israeli authorities had no immediate comment.

In Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza, thousands of Palestinian massed near the border fence as part of weekly protests launched on March 30 to demand rights to lands lost in the 1948 war of Israel’s foundation.

Gaza medics said 180 Palestinians were wounded, a third of them from live fire, including a female nurse and a boy.

The Israeli army said troops opened fire to disperse Palestinians who rolled burning tires at the fence, posing a breach threat, and, in one case, threw a grenade across it.

At least 170 Palestinians have been killed since the border demonstrations began, drawing censure against Israel from a number of world powers except the United States, which has echoed its Middle East ally in blaming Hamas for the bloodshed.

Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but has built up settlements in the West Bank, angering Palestinians who see an obstacle to their statehood hopes. The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2014.

An Israeli court broke new judicial ground on Tuesday by giving legal recognition to a settlement built without Israeli government authorization on privately owned Palestinian land.

Most countries consider all of the settlements built on territories that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war to be illegal. Israel disputes this.

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.

Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich