Palestinian protester dies week after being shot by Israeli forces
A 19-year-old Palestinian shot by Israeli soldiers during protests and clashes along the Gaza border last week died from his wounds on Thursday, the Gaza health ministry said.
Anas Shawki Abu Aser was shot east of Gaza City on 27 April, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said, succumbing to his wounds nearly a week later.
Abu Aser’s death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations in Gaza since 30 March to 45, according to a ministry tally.
Some 6,800 Palestinians have been wounded during the demonstrations.
AFP reported that another four Palestinians had been killed during the same time period, outside of the scope of the protests.
No Israelis have been injured.
The Israeli army's use of live fire during the protests has drawn international criticism and calls for an independent probe.
The six-week “Great March of Return”, which began on Palestinian Land Day, is set to end on 15 May - the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), in which more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Israeli forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Demonstrators have been gathering several hundred metres from the fence separating Israel from Gaza, where almost 1.3 million of the small territory’s two million inhabitants are refugees, to demand the right to return to their pre-1948 homes.
Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop attacks, infiltrations and damage to the border fence.
It also alleges Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, is seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.
Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers.
The protests are meant to last six weeks, ending in mid-May, around the time the United States will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The move has deeply angered the Palestinians, who see the Israeli-annexed eastern sector of Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.