Israeli gunfire on Saturday wounded 24 Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head, health officials said. An Israeli police officer was critically wounded by Palestinian gunfire during the clashes along Gaza's border with Israel, the AP reports. The violence erupted after hundreds of Palestinians took part in a demonstration Saturday organized by Gaza's Hamas rulers to draw attention to a stifling Israeli blockade of the territory. The demonstration grew violent after dozens of people approached the fortified border fence and threw rocks and explosives toward Israeli soldiers from behind a black smoke screen spewing from burning tires. The Israeli military said that hundreds of demonstrators approached one area of the fence in northern Gaza and attempted to climb over while throwing explosives at troops. It said troops fired tear gas and live rounds toward the protesters.
A member of the paramilitary border police was reported to be hospitalized in grave condition after being shot. Amateur video from the Palestinian side showed a protester running up to the concrete barrier and firing a pistol into a hole used by an Israeli sniper. In Gaza, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said 24 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire. Two of them, including the 13-year-old, were in critical condition. The violent confrontations were reminiscent of the weekly border demonstrations organized by Gaza's Hamas rulers in 2018 and 2019 to draw attention to Israel's stifling blockade over the tiny seaside territory. Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies that have fought four wars and countless skirmishes since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election. The most recent war, in May, ended in an inconclusive cease-fire after 11 days of fighting.
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