Demonstartions along the Gaza border fence. Image Credit: AP/PTI

Gaza: Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation regime fire and another 60 injured at a protest along the Gaza border amid ongoing Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire, Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Friday.

Hamas officials have been meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo for days, hammering out details of a possible truce with the occupation regime.

Hamas has led weekly border protests aimed in part at drawing attention to the blockade imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza. Large turnout at the protests has also been driven by widespread desperation in Gaza, amid worsening conditions linked to the blockade. Power is on for just a few hours a day, unemployment has skyrocketed and poverty is widening.

Abdul Lateef Al Qanou, a Hamas spokesman, said the protests forced the occupation regime to reconsider its blockade policy. “Our people’s sacrifice in the protests will be translated into national achievements soon,” he said.

Since the Gaza protests began at the end of March, 168 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including at least 125 protesters, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry and a local rights group. An Israeli occupation regime soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this same period.

Also Friday, Israeli regime police said officers shot and “neutralised” a 30-year-old man from an Arab town in Israel who allegedly tried to stab them as they were on duty in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli media said the man was killed.

Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks. Israeli forces killed over 260 Palestinians in that period.

The Palestinians and human rights groups have accused Israeli occupation forces of using excessive force in some confrontations and of killing Palestinians who did not pose an imminent deadly threat.