JEDDAH/GAZA: New protests erupted in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday as Palestinians demanded an end to Israel’s crippling blockade of the territory.
The demonstrations came after more than 40 Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, were wounded by Israeli gunfire during pro- tests on Saturday.
One of the victims, Osama Khaled Deaih, 32, died of his wounds on Wednesday.
At least 14 people were wounded in the latest protest, including five hit by Israeli gunshots.
Crowds of people approached the border fence with Israel, then fled when an Israeli military vehicle arrived.
Hamas said it had made a “great effort” to avoid bloodshed.
“The enemy must understand this message that we do not want to repeat what happened last Saturday when blood was spilled,” spokesman Soheil Al-Hendi said.
Egypt, which has been trying to broker a long-term ceasefire be- tween the two sides, had appealed to Hamas for calm.
Shortly after the protest ended, Hamas said the border cross-ing with Egypt would reopen on Thursday.
Egypt this week closed the crossing, the main exit point for Palestinians in Gaza to travel abroad, in a show of frustration with Hamas.
Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy and fueled an unemployment rate of about 50 percent.
Hamas accuses Israel of violating the ceasefire that ended 11 days of violence in May by tightening the blockade.
In particular, Israel has restricted the entry of essential building materials needed for reconstruction.
Israel has demanded the return of the remains of two soldiers killed in a 2014 war, as well as the return of two Israeli civilians believed to be in Hamas captivity.