Hamas gunmen opened fire on their own supporters Saturday, killing a teenager at a protest on the Gaza Strip-Egypt border, hospital officials said. Tens of thousands of flag-waving Hamas followers gathered at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to demand it be reopened. The border, the Strip's only gateway to Egypt, has been shut since Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in June.
Hamas gunmen guarding the border fired in the air as hundreds of protesters tried to rush the border terminal and go into Egypt. According to the AP, a 17-year-old was shot in the head and later pronounced dead, medics said. Seven others were trampled or wounded by gunfire.
"This is a peaceful protest to voice our message that we are looking for freedom," said Issa Mashar, a top Hamas leader in Rafah. "We came to send a message from the people who are suffering."
Ashraf Abu Daya, one of the rally's organizers, appealed for calm from the crowd. "There is no need to break into the crossing. The crossing is no longer under the occupation. The crossing is under the control of the Hamas Executive Committee," he said.
Ihab al-Ghusain, a Hamas security spokesman, said its forces tried to prevent a few of the demonstrators from approaching the border with Egypt. "A child was injured and he is in critical condition. We are investigating the incident to determine where the shot came from," he said.