Child dies of wounds after being injured during Gaza protests

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Four-year-old Palestinian boy dies after his uncle said he was injured by shrapnel when his father was shot by Israeli forces on Friday

At least 235 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in Gaza since demonstrations began on 30 March (AFP)
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Wednesday 12 December 2018 12:21 UTC
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A four-year-old Palestinian boy has died after being injured during protests near the fence separating the Gaza from Israel, the health ministry in the besieged enclave has said.

"Ahmed Abu Abed, aged four years and eight months, died as a result of the wounds he received last Friday east of Khan Younis," Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement late on Tuesday.

According to Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem, Ahmed was injured by shrapnel in his eye and stomach during the protest. His father was also shot in the hand during the same protest.

The toddler's funeral will take place on Wednesday.

The Israeli army said it was reviewing the incident, while accusing Hamas, who govern Gaza, of using residents as cover for attacks.

"Facing this reality, the IDF [army] does everything possible to avoid harming children," the army said in a statement on Wednesday.

Palestinians have been protesting regularly since 30 March as part of the Great March of Return.

The protest campaign calls for an end to the 11-year Israeli blockade on Gaza and for Palestinian refugees' right of return to the lands that their families fled during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

At least 235 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and thousands injured since the demonstrations began, mostly by Israeli fire during protests but also by air and tank strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during a botched Israeli special forces operation within the Gaza Strip.

Checkpoint killing

in the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces near Hebron on Tuesday during what Israeli officials said was an attack.

The slain man, identified by relatives as Omar Awawda, 24, died on his way to a hospital.

Israeli police said a man was shot after driving his car towards border police at a flying checkpoint near the village of Idhna.

"A Palestinian car driven by the suspect tried to escape the security forces, the car hit the supervisor's car and headed toward a border police officer who was securing the area," a statement said.

"The officer fired at the car, hitting the man suspected of attempting to run him over," the police statement said, confirming Awawda's death. The police statement did not mention any Israeli injuries.

In a separate incident in the northern West Bank, a Palestinian car drove toward Israeli security forces involved in enforcing construction laws.

Border policemen fired in the air and apprehended the driver, a 30-year-old resident of the village of Jiftlik.

Tear gas and sound grenades

Later on Tuesday, Israeli forces entered the centre of the city of Ramallah, home of the Palestinian government, for the second day.

Forces closed several roads near the Palestinian finance ministry, firing tear gas and sound grenades at protesters hurling rocks.

Israeli forces in the West Bank have been on high alert since Sunday evening, when seven Israelis were wounded in a shooting at the entrance to an illegal West Bank settlement.

A woman and her prematurely delivered baby were still in serious condition on Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman told AFP.

"I wish a swift recovery to all those wounded," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday at a ceremony marking the operation of a new junction in the West Bank.

"We will chase down the perpetrators and settle the account with them."