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Two Palestinian teens killed by Israeli forces in Gaza

09 February 2019

Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian teenagers including a 14-year-old boy during Gaza border protests on Friday, Palestinian health officials said.

The Israeli army declined to comment on the deaths, but said 8,200 "rioters and demonstrators" had been protesting along the border.

Hasan Shalabi, 14, "was killed by Israeli occupation live fire to the chest east of Khan Younis" in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said, as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated along the heavily fortified frontier with Israel for the 46th week running.

Some 8,000 Palestinians gathered along the border for the weekly demonstrations and riots, throwing rocks, fire bombs and explosives at soldiers, who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

"The barrier is unique and especially suited to threats from the Gaza Strip and will provide a maximum response to prevent entry into Israeli territory", Brig.

In recent weeks, tensions between Israel and terror groups in Gaza rose after a Palestinian sniper opened fire on a group of Israeli soldiers. He was hit with a bullet in the neck. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the attack.

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Earlier this week, Israel began reinforcing its Gaza security fence with a galvanized steel barrier 65 kilometers long (40 miles) and six meters high (20 feet).

Palestinians have been holding protests every Friday since the end of last March, demanding the implementation of refugees' right of return to the lands they lost during the establishment of the state of Israel.

The clashes along the border separating Israel and Gaza have led to periodic bouts of fighting over the past year, including Israeli airstrikes on the enclave and Hamas rockets fired at Israel. Israel says militants use the demonstrations to threaten the border and provoke violence.

Gaza is home to 2 million Palestinians, almost all of them the stateless descendents of people who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding in 1948.

Hamas, which violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, is a terror group that seeks to destroy Israel.

Two Palestinian teens killed by Israeli forces in Gaza