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Israeli forces kill two Palestinians as Gaza protests continue

At least 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since they began holding Land Day protests on March 30.

A Palestinian man shot by Israeli forces during a mass protest along the besieged Gaza Strip's southern border has died of his wounds.

Abdullah Mohammed al-Shuhri, 28, was shot in the chest in Khuza'a near the town of Khan Younis on Thursday, Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for Gaza's health ministry, said in a statement.

Al-Shuhri died at the European hospital, where he was transferred to receive treatment shortly after he was shot during a sit-in that is part of the Great March of Return.

Earlier on Thursday, Mohammed Abu Hajeela, 31, was killed in an Israeli air strike and succumbed to his wounds in Gaza's al-Shifa hospital.

A total of 34 Palestinians have now been shot to death since the start of the protests that began on March 30, when tens of thousands took to the border area with Israel demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Israeli forces fire live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesting Palestinians.

They have also injured more than 3,000 people since the start of protests, according to the health ministry.

The demonstrations will continue until the Nakba anniversary on May 15, which marks 70 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns by Zionist militias in 1948.

Around 70 percent of Gaza's two million population were forced from their homes and now live in a territory the size of the US city of Detroit - about 360sq km - which has been described as "the world's largest open-air prison".

Israel has drawn sharp criticism for its open-fire orders along the border, including its warnings that those approaching or trying to damage the fence would be targeted.

On Saturday, Yaser Murtaja, 30, was killed by Israeli forces while covering the protests, despite him wearing a flak jacket clearly marked with the word "Press" on it.

Israeli officials including Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, have praised Israel's troops for "guarding the country's borders".

On April 1, Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli defence minister, rejected calls for an independent investigation into the killings.


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