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Israeli forces injure 49 civilians in Gaza

GAZA: Israeli forces have attacked Palestinians taking part in anti-occupation protests near the fence separating the besieged Gaza Strip from the occupied territories, wounding 49 civilians.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gazan Health Ministry, said 46 Palestinian protesters sustained different types of injuries during the protests in eastern Gaza Strip on Friday.

Three paramedics were also wounded by Israeli soldiers, he added.

The rallies have been held every week since March 30 last year. The Palestinians demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression.

Israeli troops have killed at least 305 Palestinians since the beginning of the rallies — called the “Great March of Return” — and wounded more than 17,000 others, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.

In March, a United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission found that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards. Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

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