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Uneasy Calm Falls Over Gaza After Israel Kills Scores at Protests

Early in the demonstrations, which began on March 30, organizers had called for it to climax on Tuesday, but by late afternoon, only small protests had materialized along the border, in sharp contrast to the vast crowds there on Monday.

At the biggest protest area, east of Gaza City, the gathering numbered in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. Only a few dozen people ventured close to the border fence, including young men with slingshots and a group of eight women chanting slogans.

Protesters had rolled tires toward the fence, and sent a few burning kites across the barrier. Twice on Tuesday afternoon, an Israeli drone flew over the demonstrators and dropped tear gas canisters among them.

Nasser Ghurab, 51, was shot dead on Tuesday near to the border, said Ashraf l-Qedra, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry. He said that the Israeli military has killed 109 Palestinians in Gaza in nearly seven weeks of protests, and wounded 12,000 others, about half of them with live ammunition.

On the Israeli side of the fence, a field was in flames, apparently set alight by one of the Palestinian kites. But for the most part, a tense, almost pastoral calm prevailed, rather than the violence and chaos of a day earlier.

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At a protest site between the cities of Beit Hanoun and Jabaliya, in the northern part of Gaza, no protesters could be seen at midday. Across the fence, Israeli emergency firefighting teams sat idle. The only trace of the previous day’s events on the Israeli side were scorched patches of ground where kites had set wheat fields on fire.

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