The Latest: Israeli troops fire at Gaza protests; 9 wounded

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The Latest on the situation along the Israeli-Gaza border (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Thousands of Palestinians are staging a mass protest along Gaza's sealed border with Israel with some burning Israeli flags, throwing stones and torching tires.

Israeli soldiers are firing tear gas and live bullets from across the border fence.

Gaza health officials say at least nine Palestinians have been wounded in Friday's protest, the third of this scale in two weeks. Since late March, 27 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by army fire during such rallies.

On Friday, most demonstrators assembled in five tent camps located several hundred meters (yards) from the border fence. Smaller groups moved closer to the fence, throwing stones, torching tires and burning large Israeli flags.

The Israeli military say demonstrators also hurled an explosive device and several fire bombs near the fence.


11:30 a.m.

Palestinians are streaming to tent camps along Gaza's border with Israel for the third of what are to be weekly mass protests until mid-May.

The marches are organized by Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas, but turnout is also being driven by desperation among the territory's 2 million residents.

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.

In two weeks, 34 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 27 during protests. Israel alleges Hamas is using protests as a cover for attacks. Rights groups say military's open-fire orders are unlawful.

On Friday, hundreds flocked to one of five camps near Gaza City, stepping on a large Israeli flag laid out on the ground at the entrance.