At least 14 Palestinians taking part in Friday’s Great March of Return protests were wounded by Israeli fire, four of them with live gunshots, according to the health ministry in the besieged enclave.
The protest organisers had announced the suspension of the demonstrations in mid-November to avoid casualties among Palestinians following an escalation of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the fighting that followed it.
Last month’s violence, the worst in months, was sparked by an Israeli targeted killing of a senior commander of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad. During the two days of fighting that followed the killing of Abu al-Ata, Islamic Jihad launched hundreds of rockets towards Israel, which carried out a number of air raids that killed 34 Palestinians, including nine members of a single family, all of whom were civilians.
Since the Gaza rallies began in March last year, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and more than 30,000 wounded by Israeli forces at the fence areas around Gaza.
Demonstrators demand an end to an Israeli-Egyptian 12-year-old blockade around the Gaza Strip, which has shattered the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of free movement in and out from Gaza, preventing the entry of many basic amenities.
Over the past decade, Israel has launched three military assaults on the Gaza Strip and there have been dozens of shorter skirmishes.