GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Thousands of Palestinians staged a mass protest along Gaza's sealed border with Israel on Friday, some burning large Israeli flags and torching tires while soldiers fired tear gas and live bullets from across the border fence.
Medics at the site of the explosion had said three people were killed but officials confirmed only two deaths. The rioters also threw explosives and rocks toward the Israeli side of the border and attempted to fly a kite over to the Israeli side that had a firebomb attached to it. Following last Friday's demonstrations, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that 59 types of essential drugs, 128 medical disposables and 5 laboratory reagents, were urgently needed at public hospitals for the treatment of injuries.
US Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to congressional colleagues on Friday urging the White House to take action to improve the "humanitarian crisis" facing Gazans as they protest for the third straight week.
Another man died this Friday, the Palestinian health ministry says.
The Israeli military said soldiers were responding "with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with the rules of engagement". Israel said it will not allow the right of return.
The protests, planned to last six weeks, are calling for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes, now inside Israel. At least 26 were killed during protests.
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Two more Army personnel were injured and shifted to hospital for treatment, they said. Two other security personnel were also injured.
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He said Hamas should not pursue a violent "struggle against Israel", but emphasised that Israel's "continuing control of Gaza's air, sea, and northern, southern, and eastern borders, and its restrictions on the freedom of movement of people, legitimate goods and equipment in and out of Gaza, have made the humanitarian situation worse".
Protest organisers say Hamas was invited to provide logistical support to the demonstration and Hamas says it continues to call for peaceful protests.
Mohammed al-Hajjar, a Palestinian photographer for the news website Middle East Eye, was lightly injured by a live round that grazed his right arm while he was covering protests east of Gaza city, according to his employer, the PJS, and news reports. Walter Miller, U.S. representative to the United Nations, said "bad actors" were using the "protests as a cover to incite violence".
Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel's centrist Yesh Atid party, called Hamas a "despicable terror organization" and accused it of exploiting civilians.
Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years, while its border with Egypt has also been largely closed in recent years. They also dismantled a number of barbed wire fences deployed at about 20 metres from the perimeter fence by the Israeli military, and attempted to breach the latter.