Four Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in border clashes: Gaza ministry

GAZA CITY: Four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli fire in fresh clashes on the Gaza border Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

 The men, aged between 22 and 27, were shot in separate incidents along the border fence, the ministry said. 

The Israeli army did not comment on the deaths but said approximately 10,000 "demonstrators and rioters" were gathered along the border, with some setting tyres alight and "hurling grenades".

 Troops were responding with "riot dispersal means," the spokesman added. 

Palestinians have gathered for protests along the Gaza border at least weekly since late March. 

At least 212 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since the protests began on March 30, according to figures collated by AFP.

 The majority have died during protests, though smaller numbers have been killed by airstrikes and tank fire. 

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper along the border in the same period. 

Palestinian protesters are calling to be allowed to return to lands their families fled or were expelled from in a 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel and which are now inside the Jewish state. 

They are also opposing Israel's crippling blockade of Gaza.

 Israel accuses Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the often violent demonstrations.

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