At the start of a six-week-long protest, Palestinians in Gaza have marched in their thousands to the border of Israel.

After earlier reporting the death of a farmer due to tank fire, Palestinian officials say dozens have been wounded by Israeli gunfire.

The Israeli military reported “rioting” at six places and said it was “firing towards main instigators”.

Palestinians have pitched five camps near the border for the protest, dubbed the Great March of Return.

Palestinian media are reporting about 7,000 people are protesting along the border.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said more than 50 people had been wounded by live fire from the Israeli side. Tear gas has also been fired.

Media in Gaza are reporting the death of a second Palestinian at a protest near Jabaliya but this has not been confirmed.

Image captionMap showing the position of the five protest camps. Source: Haaretz

Before the protest started, Palestinian officials said Israeli tank fire had killed 27-year-old farmer Omar Samour and injured a second man near Khan Yunis in the south.

Witnesses say the two men were collecting parsley in a field, BBC Gaza producer Rushdi Abualouf reports.

Relatives of the dead Palestinian grieve at a hospital in southern Gaza
Image captionRelatives of the dead Palestinian grieve at a hospital in southern Gaza

Hamas, the militant group that dominates the Gaza Strip, has accused Israel of trying to intimidate Palestinians by killing the farmer and by urging them not to participate in the protests.

Addressing protesters, Hamas senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh said: “we will not concede a single inch of the land of Palestine”.

The Jerusalem Post also reported a rare public appearance by the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yehiya Sinwar.

What have the Israelis said?

The Israeli military oversees a no-go zone along the Gaza border, citing security concerns, and has doubled its troop presence for the protest.

Israeli security forces take position as Palestinians gather at Beit Hanoun
Image captionIsraeli security forces take a position as Palestinians gather at Beit Hanoun

Palestinians mass at Gaza-Israel border

It fears the protest could be an attempt at a mass breach of the border.

The military said that a tank had fired at two suspects after suspicious activity near a security fence near Khan Yunis and that it was aware of the reports of the death.

The Israel Defense Forces later said troops were “firing towards the main instigators” to break up rioting.

|Source: BBC|


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