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Israeli troops kill Palestinian man near Gaza fence

Two Palestinian teenagers also dead after being shot by Israeli forces earlier
Israeli teargas canister falls on Palestinian protest near Gaza-Israel fence last week (AFP/file photo)

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it shot and fatally wounded a Palestinian man who sought to damage the fence separating Israel from Gaza.

"Troops recognised a suspect who approached the security fence and attempted to sabotage it," an English-language army statement said, adding that they opened fire on the man. He was given medical treatment but "later on, the suspect succumbed to his wounds," AFP reported.

Palestinian security officials said that the dead man was Atef Mohammed Saleh, 32, from Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. They said they did not know the circumstances of the shooting.

According to the Gaza health ministry, Israeli forces have killed 175 Palestinians and wounded another 19,600 since the beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March.

On Saturday, a Palestinian teenager died of wounds sustained a day earlier when he was shot by Israeli forces while participating in a demonstration in Gaza, raising the death toll from Friday’s protest to two.

The Gaza health ministry identified the slain boy as 16-year-old Ahmed Misbah Abu Tayour, adding that he was shot east of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip.

A video shared on social media on Saturday purported to show the moment when Abu Tayour was shot on Friday.

Middle East Eye could not independently verify the video, which showed a teen standing dozens of metres away from the fence separating Gaza from Israel. The video showed the boy throwing a stone in the direction of the fence while seemingly too far away to hit soldiers, then raising his hands in the air. A man can be heard saying "Abu Tayour, come back," before the boy is shot and falls to the ground.

Abu Tayour was the second teenager to have been killed by Israeli forces east of Rafah on Friday. The other young Palestinian, 17-year-old Bilal Khafaja, was shot in the chest and died the same day.

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Five months into the Great March of Return, Palestinians in Gaza continue to demonstrate at least once a week, calling for the implementation of the right of return for refugees - who make up 1.3 million of Gaza’s two million inhabitants - and for an end to the 11-year Israeli-led blockade of the small coastal territory.

Protest organisers said that Friday's demonstration was under the slogan: "We are returning despite your wrath and fury, Trump," and in response to the US pulling its funding from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.