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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Israeli troops wound 56 Palestinians in new clashes

It came as thousands of Palestinians took part in protests for the fourth Friday in a row against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against President Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against President Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

At least 56 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in Gaza and the occupied West Bank on Friday as they took part in a fresh day of protest against US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israeli forces also hit the Gaza Strip with tank fire and air strikes after rockets from the Palestinian enclave targeted a southern community, the army and Palestinian sources said.

Israeli troops opened fire during clashes in several parts of the coastal territory, wounding 40 people, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said. Four were in a serious condition.

In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said at least 16 people were wounded when Israeli troops fired live bullets during demonstrations, while others were hit with rubber-coated rounds.

Israel also carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants fired three rockets at southern Israel, two of which were intercepted by the "Iron Dome" aerial defence system, the army said.

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Police said the third rocket hit a structure in a community near Gaza, causing damage but no casualties.

Witnesses said Israeli tanks shelled a position controlled by Gaza's Islamist rulers east of Gaza City.

A spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry said nobody was injured by the Israeli fire.

Both Hamas and fellow militant group Islamic Jihad had labelled Friday a "day of rage", as in previous weeks.

Militants in Gaza have fired more than a dozen rockets or mortar rounds at southern Israel in the latest wave of violence, which erupted after Trump's decision.

Before Friday, the last rockets fired from Gaza were on December 18, one of which hit a home in a border town.

Mr Trump outraged Palestinians and sparked anger in the Middle East and among world powers with his Jerusalem declaration on December 6, which reversed decades of US policy on one of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His announcement was followed by protests across the West Bank and on Gaza's border with Israel, with 12 Gazans killed in clashes with Israeli forces on the border or by Israeli strikes following rocket fire.

A UN General Assembly resolution passed on December 21 roundly rejected Mr Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. A total of 128 countries voted for the UN resolution. Nine opposed it and 35 abstained. Twenty-one countries did not cast a vote.

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