TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Eight Palestinians were injured by Israeli fire as thousands protested along the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday, media reports said.
Clashes erupted as thousands gathered for a third consecutive Friday of mass protests along Gaza's border with Israel after violence in which Israeli forces have killed 33 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others.
Limited clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli soldiers took place in at least two areas along the border, AFP reporters said. Larger protests happened after Friday Muslim prayers.
At least eight Palestinians were wounded, the health ministry in Gaza said, with one shot in the head.
The Israeli army said live rounds were fired but noted that no attempts to enter Israel were made by the Palestinians.
Most were injured east of Gaza City, but two were hurt in clashes near Al-Bureij in central Gaza.
In northern Gaza, a large Israeli flag was burned that had earlier been set on the ground for protesters to walk over.
The protests since March 30 have posed a challenge to Israel, which has dismissed criticism of its use of live fire, saying its rules of engagement are necessary and will not change.
Organizers were calling on Friday's demonstrators to burn Israeli flags and raise Palestinian ones.
Last week, protesters burned mounds of tires, sending plumes of smoke into the air in the border area. Israeli soldiers used large fans in a bid to push the smoke away.
The protests, planned to last six weeks, are calling for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes that are now under Israeli occupation – which Israelis say essentially amounts to calling for the country's destruction.
The first two Fridays – with far less on intervening days – saw tens of thousands gather near the border with Israel at five locations.
Smaller numbers approached the fence, throwing stones and rolling burning tires toward soldiers taking up positions on the other side.