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Israeli forces clash with Palestinian youth near border of northern Gaza

Sept. 16, 2017 12:19 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2017 6:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinian youths suffered from severe tear gas inhalation on Friday, during clashes with Israeli forces near the border of the northern Gaza Strip.

Spokesperson of the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma’an that Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinian youths near the border, outside the Jabaliya refugee camp, causing three “youth” to suffer from suffocation.

In response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an: "On most Fridays, violent riots take place near the fence on the Gaza border. Their goal is to ruin the fence on the border, harm Israeli forces and the sovereignty of the State of Israel. Tear gas is used occasionally in order to disperse the crowd from the fence, and is not used to cause any harm."

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in Gaza regularly occur on Fridays near the highly militarized fence along Gaza’s border with Israel.

The clashes often turn violent with Israeli forces firing tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition on Palestinians who throw rocks, and, according to the Israeli army, regularly roll burning tires towards the fence.

The United Nations and numerous human rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians during clashes, in incidents that did not warrant a violent response.

At least four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year during clashes near the border fence in Gaza, including a 16-year-old Palestinian who was killed in July.

The nearly nine-year Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s some 2 million Palestinians into poverty. The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years and slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.

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