February 22, 2019 / 6:33 PM / 7 months ago

Israeli gunfire kills Gaza teenager during border protests

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Gaza City February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager and wounded around 40 others at a protest attended by thousands on the Gaza Strip border on Friday, Gaza health officials said.

Israel’s military said it was acting against rioters, some of whom tried throwing grenades and explosive devices into Israel from the Gaza Strip, a territory controlled by the Islamist group Hamas.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since weekly border demonstrations began in March 2018, and thousands wounded. One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Dubbed The Great March of Return, the protests call for the right to return to lands from which their ancestors fled or were forced to flee in 1948 during Israel’s founding.

Protesters are also calling for an end to a grinding Israeli-led blockade of Gaza, an enclave home to two million people.

Gaza’s health ministry said a 15-year-old boy died after being shot by Israeli gunfire. An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers had used “riot dispersal means” and opened fire “in accordance with standard operating procedures.”

Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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