GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli security forces shot and killed two Palestinians during Friday's protests at the Gaza border, including a 14-year-old boy, injuring 415 more people with fire and tear gas.
The medical workers in the Gaza Strip said the boy, Yasser Abu Al-Naja and Mohammad Al-Hamayda, 24, had been hit by bullets. They added that four other men injured by live fire were in critical condition.
The Israeli military said in a statement that troops had used "large quantities of riot control agents". In some cases, when the non-lethal means proved ineffective, a live fire was used "in accordance with the standard operating procedures".
Thousands of Palestinians were said to have "participated in extremely violent riots", shelling grenades and stones at troops, the border fence and burning tires.
It was said that the reported death of the boy would be investigated and, where appropriate, legal action could be taken.
Gaza officials say Israeli troops have killed at least 135 people since the weekly protests began on March 30.
Palestinians say the protests are a popular outbreak of rage against Israel by refugees demanding the right to return home to their families or have been expelled from establishing Israel 70 years ago.
Israel says the demonstrations are organized by the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and denies Israel's right to exist. Israel says Hamas has purposely provoked the violence, an accusation denying Hamas.
When the protests started in several places along the Gaza border, tens of thousands took part in it, but the number has dropped significantly in recent weeks and only a few thousand have participated in recent times.
Israel's deadly tactic has provoked international condemnation. But support comes from their main ally, the United States, who, like Israel, accuse Hamas.
Israel accuses Hamas of inciting violence to divert domestic opinion from Gaza's energy shortage and stagnant economy.
Israel maintains a naval blockade of Gaza and strict restrictions on the movement of people and goods along its land borders. Egypt has also kept its own Gaza border largely closed. Both countries mention safety concerns for the measures that have aggravated the economic difficulties.
Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Arrangement by Ori Lewis and Andrew Roche