Palestinians join 30th Friday of anti

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Eyewitnesses and local radio stations reported on Friday afternoon that the crowds were still arriving at five different spots in eastern Gaza Strip, along with the borders with Israel.

The marches of return in eastern Gaza Strip came following marathon visits of Egyptian security intelligence mediators to the coastal enclave to hold talks with Hamas over defusing tension with Israel.

GAZA, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Palestinian demonstrators joined on Friday the 500th weekly anti-Israel marches of return and protests organized in eastern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel.

The protests were held despite the Egyptian pressure on Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip as well as other minor powers and factions, to make it peaceful and avoid fatalities.

According to Gaza Health Ministry, since the outbreak of the Great March of Return on March 500, the Israeli army shot dead 206 Palestinians and wounded more than 22,000.

Paramedics in northern Gaza said that at least eight demonstrators were shot. Three of them were seriously wounded, while dozens suffered suffocation after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli soldiers.

The statement added that "the commission calls on our youth to participate in this Friday and not to approach the separation fence and only to gather peacefully to deliver the message of continuity."

However, the Palestinian High Commission of the Marches of Return and Breaking the Israeli Siege said in a statement that it decided to make the protests "peaceful."

They said that dozens approached the fence of the border, adding that Israeli soldiers stationed on the border dispersed the crowds of the demonstrators with tear gas and runner bullets.

The Egyptian delegation held talks on Thursday in Gaza with Hamas leaders and in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party leaders.

Al-Quds Radio station, based in Gaza, said that Israeli soldiers opened fire at the demonstrators east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis and east of the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalia.