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Israeli forces fatally shoot Palestinian protester in Gaza

20-year-old demonstrator killed during Great March of Return protest, Gaza's health ministry says
Palestinians in Gaza carry on weekly protests on 27 September (AFP)

Israeli forces shot and killed a 20-year-old Palestinian during a protest along Gaza's frontier with Israel, the Gazan Ministry of Health said. 

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Sahar Othman was fatally shot in the chest near Rafah in southern Gaza on Friday, the ministry said in a statement, according to AFP news agency. 

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An Israeli army spokesperson said the army did not comment on specifics deaths, but told Middle East Eye that there were about 7,000 demonstrators who took part in protests in several locations along the fence that separates Israel and Gaza. 

The spokesperson said several protesters hurled "fire bombs and explosive devices" at Israeli forces, causing damage to two military vehicles. 

Despite reports that the 20-year-old was shot and killed, the spokesperson said Israeli forces did not shoot live fire on Friday, but did use "riot dispersal means" to suppress the protesters. 

The spokesperson declined to specify what measures were taken against the demonstrators.

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Palestinians have been staging weekly protests along Gaza's frontier with Israel for the past 18 months, in a wave of demonstrations known as the Great March of Return.

The protesters have been calling for Israel's siege of the coastal enclave to be lifted and for the right of return for Palestinians to their ancestral homes in what is today Israel, from which their families were expelled in 1948.

Israeli forces have violently cracked down on the peaceful protests, using live fire and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators and push them back from the frontier.

At least 210 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests began in March 2018, according to local medical officials. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper and another killed in a botched raid since the protests began.

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