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Israeli forces kill 16-year-old Palestinian in Gaza amid mounting tensions over Al-Aqsa

July 28, 2017 5:47 P.M. (Updated: July 29, 2017 4:41 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian in central Gaza on Friday during clashes that erupted along the border with Israel, while at least seven other Palestinian protesters were injured with live ammunition, as tensions have continued to mount over Israel's restrictive policies at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Hussein Abu Hasima east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza during clashes that had erupted over Israeli policies at Al-Aqsa, while seven others were injured with live ammunition in the eastern districts of the Gaza Strip.

The slain Palestinian and the seven injured were transferred to Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

Four of the seven injured were wounded with live ammunition during clashes that had erupted east of the Jabaliya refugee camp north of Gaza city, while at least one was injured in clashes east of Khan Yunis city in the southern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses said that Israeli forces had fired “heavily” on Palestinian protesters, while simultaneously shooting tear gas into the crowd of demonstrators.

Gaza’s Health Ministry added that two Palestinian medics had suffered from tear gas inhalation during the clashes.

Abu Hasima was the second Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces on Friday, while another Palestinian was reported in critical condition after being shot by Israeli forces in the Jerusalem-area town of al-Ram.

Earlier on Friday, 24-year-old Abdullah Ali Mahmoud Taqatqa was shot to death by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack near Israel's illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the Bethlehem district of the West Bank. However, at least one eyewitness has refuted the Israeli army's claims.

In response to the clashes in Gaza, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that Palestinians "are participating in violent riots adjacent to the security barrier in the Gaza Strip."

"Palestinians are burning tires and hurling rocks at the security fence, intending to damage it," she said, adding that Israeli forces had called on the "main instigators to halt". However, "after their continued advance, warning shots were fired in the air. Following the continued rioting, shots were fired toward the main instigators who were damaging the fence."

The spokesperson could not confirm whether the Israeli army was aware that a Palestinian had been killed by live ammunution shot by Israeli forces.

Protests have erupted across the occupied West Bank and Gaza on Friday after Israeli forces tightened restrictions on Palestinian access to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, barring Palestinian men under the age of 50 from entering the holy site.

The move came just a day after Palestinian Jerusalemites celebrated victory when Israeli authorities dismantled security equipment installed at the compound's gates, which had resulted in a nearly two-week civil disobedience campaign, led by Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who boycotted Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam, since July 14.

Before Friday, Muhammad Fathi Kanaan was the latest to be killed as a result of violent clashes that have erupted over the past two weeks around Israel's policies at Al-Aqsa. After Israeli forces shot him in the head with a live bullet several days ago in the Jerusalem-area town of Hizma, the 25-year-old succumbed to his wounds on Thursday.

According to Ma'an documentation, Abu Hasima was the sixth Palestinian to be killed by Israelis, one of whom was killed by an Israeli settler, since mass protests were organized among Palestinians over the past week.

Since the start of the year, 53 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, while 13 Israelis -- almost all of whom were uniformed Israeli officers or settlers residing in Palestinian territory in violation of international law -- have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.
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