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Palestinian protester shot by Israeli forces in Gaza succumbs to wounds

23-year-old was shot while demonstrating in Great March of Return protest, says health ministry
Palestinians gather to mark first anniversary of 'March of Return' protests, east of Gaza City on 30 March (AFP/File photo)

A Palestinian man shot by Israeli forces during a demonstration near the Gaza-Israel boundary fence has succumbed to his wounds, the health ministry in the besieged coastal enclave said in a statement.

Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah al-Qara, 23, was shot in the abdomen during a "Great March of Return" protest east of Khan Yunis on Friday, the health ministry said.

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At least 56 other protesters were treated for injuries at the demonstration, according to the ministry. 

38 of those hurt were shot with live rounds or rubber-coated steel bullets, including 22 minors and three women, the ministry added. 

A military ambulance was also hit by rubber-coated steel bullets during the march, according to the health ministry.  

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have held regular protests - dubbed the Great March of Return - since March 2018.

They are demanding an end to the ongoing siege of the coastal Palestinian territory and to be allowed to return to their ancestral towns and villages in what is now Israel.

Israel has been criticised for its heavy-handed response to the protests, with frontline doctors accusing the Israeli army of intentionally maiming Palestinians.

In 2018, Israeli forces killed 290 Palestinians, including 55 minors, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to Israeli human-rights group B'Tselem.

B'Tselem said that Israel's "reckless open-fire policy" was responsible for a majority of the deaths.

The group also accused Israeli forces of implementing a "shoot to kill" policy.