Israeli fire wounds 32 Palestinians in Gaza beach protest

Teargas canisters fired by Israeli troops fall over Palestinians during a protest on the beach at the border with Israel near Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza’s Health Ministry says 32 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli fire during a mass protest along the beach near the Israeli frontier.

Protesters threw flaming tires over the fence Monday, while fishing boats hoisted Palestinian flags. Israeli forces responded with tear gas and live fire.

The ruling Hamas militant group has been staging border protests for the past six months in hopes of easing a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

It has intensified the protests in recent weeks as Egyptian-mediated cease-fire efforts have faltered. Over the weekend, Israel halted Qatari-donated fuel shipments to Gaza’s power plant in response to the escalated protests.

Since March, 155 Palestinians participating or attending the protests were killed.

Israel says it is defending its border. An Israeli soldier was fatally shot in July.

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