Gaza toll rises to 17 after Palestinian dies of wounds

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A Palestinian succumbed to his wounds Monday three days after being shot by Israeli forces when a mass protest led to clashes, Gaza's health ministry said, raising the death toll to 17.

Faris al-Raqib, 29, was shot in the stomach during Friday's clashes east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, the health ministry said, as tens of thousands of people took part in some of the largest protests in recent years.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says the 29-year-old Gaza man has died of injuries from Israeli army fire during last week's mass protests along the Gaza border with Israel.

Separately, Israeli defense authorities confirmed that Israel is holding the bodies of two alleged Hamas members.

With Monday's death, this would raise to 18 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops on Friday.

Hamas says Friday's mass march was the first in six weeks of protests against a decade-old border blockade.

Israel rejected allegations of excessive force, saying it defended its border against what it claims is a Hamas attack under the guise of mass protests. It says troops were instructed to target "the main instigators."

Rights groups say shooting Palestinians who don't pose a threat to soldiers' lives is unlawful.

(With AP)