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22-year-old Palestinian 8th to be killed by Israeli forces in massive Gaza protests

March 30, 2018 5:22 P.M. (Updated: March 31, 2018 1:16 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian from Gaza on Friday afternoon, bringing the death toll to eight, as thousands of Palestinians took to the border with Israel in what is being called "The Great March of Return," as Palestinian refugees demand their right to return to their homelands inside historic Palestine, now present-day Israel.

Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health released a statement identifying the eight slain Palestinian as Abd al-Fattah abd al-Nabi.

Meanwhile, al-Qidra reported that over 500 Palestinians had been injured.

Leading up to the march, the Israeli army released a statement saying it had declared the border area along Gaza a “closed military zone,” meaning that any Palestinian who got close to the border fence could risk getting shot.

The Israeli army released statements on Twitter describing the protests as “violent riots.”

“17,000 Palestinians are rioting in 5 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence. The rioters are rolling burning tires and hurling firebombs & rocks at the security fence & IDF troops, who are responding w riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators,” the statement said.

Despite the Israeli army’s claims, Palestinian activists and leaders in the Gaza Strip have maintained that the “March of Return” was organized as a massive non-violent, weeks-long protest advocating for the return of Palestinian refugees to their original homelands in historic Palestine, now present day Israel.

Leading up to Friday, the first official day of the march -- which will continue until the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, in May -- Palestinians set up tents along the border with Gaza, where protesters plan to stay until the Nakba anniversary.

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