Palestinians in Gaza protest against Israel’s crippling blockade | Middle East News

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Hundreds of Palestinians have demonstrated near the Israeli separation barrier in the southern Gaza Strip, calling on Israel to ease a crippling blockade, days after a similar gathering ended in a deadly crackdown.

The demonstration wrapped up without a repeat of Saturday’s violence after Hamas, which governs the besieged Strip, kept the crowds from approaching the separation wall.

Shortly after the demonstration ended, Hamas officials announced that the territory’s key border crossing with Egypt was partially reopening on Thursday.

The Israeli military, which had beefed up its forces ahead of the demonstration, said it used tear gas and limited live fire to disperse the crowd.

Palestinian medics reported at least 14 people were wounded, including five people who were shot.

Soheil al-Hendi, a Hamas official, said the group had made a “great effort” to avoid bloodshed.

The protests are an attempt to put pressure on Israel to ease its blockade on Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election.

The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy and fuelled an unemployment rate that hovers at approximately 50 percent.



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