Death toll rises to 33 amid mass protests in Gaza

Palestinian protesters attempt to blind IDF snipers with mirrors as they demonstrate and burn tires near the border with Israel in the Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border

At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as thousands gathered for a third consecutive Friday of protests.

The health ministry said in an official press statement that Israeli soldiers stationed at the border are targeting with live ammunition and tear gas the paramedics and the medical clinics established in the tents that were erected close to the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israeli forces have killed 33 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others on the two previous Fridays of protest on March 30 and April 6, when soldiers used live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas.

Many protesters left for midday prayers but larger numbers are expected to gather in five spots along the border on Friday afternoon.

The Israeli military say demonstrators also hurled an explosive device and several fire bombs near the fence.

Palestinian demonstrators remove part of the Israeli barbed wire during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City, April 13, 2018.

Even the marches are coordinated by Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas, however, turnout is also becoming pushed by desperation among the 2 million taxpayers of the territory.

Thousands of Palestinians arrived at tented camps near the frontier as a protest dubbed "The Great March of Return" - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel - moved into its third week.

In two weeks, 34 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 27 during protests.

Israel accuses Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence. Organizers encouraged people to walk on a large Israeli flag which had been placed on the ground.

Israeli troops have shot dead 30 Gaza Palestinians and wounded hundreds since the protests began, drawing worldwide criticism of the lethal tactics used against them. Some of those killed were militants, the Israeli army said.

"We want to live like everyone else in the world", he said.

In a related development, hundreds of Palestinians turned out for the funeral of Abdullah Mohamed al-Shehri, a 28-year-old Palestinian who was martyred Thursday after having been struck by cross-border Israeli gunfire. Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry said one Gazan was killed and another seriously wounded in the strike.

The Israeli rights group B'Tselem said on Friday that open-fire policy must not be dictated by worst case scenarios, such as a feared mass breach of the border.

The group has been criticized in Israel for publishing often anonymous testimony by current or former Israeli soldiers who have misgivings about their military service and treatment of Palestinians.

On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in Amman in solidarity with Palestinians.

Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

Protests are to continue until mid-May, around the time the United States is due to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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