528 injured in Gaza clashes By

Killing of Palestinian journalist protested in Istanbul

As Friday protests resumed near the border fence between Gaza and Israel, occupation forces opened fire injuring at least 30 more Palestinians and killing two.

Israel has accused Hamas of using the protests as a cover for carrying out attacks and bringing infiltrators into Israel.

The organizers said that they see the protests enjoying large-scale success in the worldwide arena and plan to peak on May 15th, but there has been no decision to end them on that date.

Two Palestinians were injured in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood east of Gaza City, and were transferred to the al-Shifa Hospital for treatment.

The casualties were recorded in the context of the "Great March of Return", a series of protests that started on 30 March, and are expected to continue up to 15 May.

The Israeli military said soldiers were responding "with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with the rules of engagement".

On Friday, groups of youths waved Palestinian flags and burnt hundreds of tyres and Israeli flags near the fenced-off border after Friday prayers.

Marchers protest against a decade-old blockade and assert what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel. This would not have been possible if the organization were linked in any way to Hamas, which the USA and Israel proscribe as a "terrorist" group. Hundreds more were reported injured from inhaling tear gas.

In the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority's security forces act as subcontractors for the Israeli army, demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza have been few and small.

Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border, and to stop any of the protesters getting across the fence.

However, the number of protesters - about 10,000 - was significantly lower than the two previous Fridays.

The health ministry said that at least 968 people, including 16 medics and reporters, were wounded by gunfire and tear gas Friday.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters on Tuesday: "The Gaza sniper deserves a decoration, and the photographer a demerit".

"An order to open live fire at unarmed protesters is manifestly unlawful", it said.

In northern Gaza, a large Israeli flag was burned that had earlier been set on the ground for protesters to walk over. Between 1947 and 1948, thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes by Zionist military units during the formation of Israel.