6 deaths at weekly bor­der protest

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - WORLD - By Fares Akram Fares Akram is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Is­raeli forces shot dead six Pales­tini­ans Fri­day, four of them in a sin­gle in­ci­dent, in one of the dead­li­est days in months of mass protests along the se­cu­rity fence sep­a­rat­ing Gaza and Is­rael, Gaza’s Health Min­istry said.

The min­istry said four were killed in one lo­ca­tion, where the Is­raeli mil­i­tary said it opened fire on a crowed of Pales­tini­ans who breached the fence and ap­proached an army post. No Is­raeli troops were harmed, the army added.

Two other Pales­tini­ans were killed in other protest lo­ca­tions, the min­istry said, adding that at least 140 Pales­tini­ans were wounded by live bul­lets.

The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said 14,000 Pales­tini­ans thronged the bor­der fence ar­eas, burn­ing tires and throw­ing rocks, fire­bombs and grenades at soldiers sta­tioned atop earth mounds on the other side of the bar­rier.

Since March, Ha­mas has or­ches­trated near­weekly protests along the fence, press­ing for an end to a sti­fling Is­rael-Egyp­tian block­ade im­posed since the mil­i­tant group wrested con­trol of Gaza in 2007.

Ha­mas’ chief, Is­mail Haniyeh, who at­tended a protest in east Gaza City, said that “the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the Pales­tinian peo­ple will break the siege.”

More than 150 Pales­tini­ans par­tic­i­pat­ing in or present at the marches have been killed since they be­gan. In May, about 60 protesters were killed in a sin­gle day, mak­ing it one of the dead­li­est since a 2014 war be­tween the two sides.

The block­ade has re­stricted Ha­mas’ abil­ity to gov­ern and plagued most of Gaza’s 2 mil­lion res­i­dents. Elec­tric­ity is sup­plied for roughly four hours a day, unem­ploy­ment stands at more than 50 per­cent and tap wa­ter is un­potable.

Re­peated at­tempts to rec­on­cile Ha­mas and the West Bank-based ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas have all but fal­tered, in­creas­ing the des­per­a­tion that has in large part fu­eled the demon­stra­tions.

Ha­mas seeks a cease­fire with Is­rael se­cur­ing an eas­ing of the block­ade but ac­cuses its ri­vals in the West Bank of thwart­ing the ef­fort. In re­cent weeks, it has stepped up its cam­paign, hold­ing night­time protests and adding new lo­ca­tions such as along the beach. Ha­mas says the es­ca­la­tion of protests is a re­sponse to the un­re­solved cease-fire talks.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, an Is­raeli court on Fri­day re­jected the ap­peal of a U.S. stu­dent who has been barred from en­ter­ing Is­rael be­cause of al­leged in­volve­ment in a Pales­tinian-led boy­cott move­ment against the Jewish state, her lawyer said. Lara Alqasem has un­til Sun­day to de­cide whether to ap­peal her case to the Is­raeli Supreme Court or to leave the coun­try, said her lawyer, Yo­tam Ben-Hil­lel. In the mean­time, she will re­main in de­ten­tion.

Alqasem, 22, ar­rived in Is­rael on Oct. 2 with a valid stu­dent visa to pur­sue her grad­u­ate stud­ies at Is­rael’s He­brew Uni­ver­sity.

Khalil Hamra / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pales­tinian protesters evac­u­ate a man shot by Is­raeli troops at the Gaza Strip bor­der. The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said 14,000 Pales­tini­ans thronged the fence ar­eas.

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