Israeli troops fired tear gas and live bullets at Palestinians who were throwing stones, Friday, near the border fence in northern Gaza, the army said, with Palestinian medics accounting for 17 wounded men.(AFP/Al Ray) Clashes are common on Fridays, with regular protests near the border, in support of Gaza farmers who say troops uprooted their trees for the purpose of creating a buffer zone.

Emergency services chief, Ashraf al-Qudra, told AFP that 13 protesters were wounded by gunfire and that four were hit by tear gas. Earlier, he said one of the men shot was in critical condition.

Later the army stated that two ‘projectiles’ fired from the Gaza Strip hit an open area in the southern Israel without causing casualties or damage. It was not immediately clear whether the projectiles were rockets or mortar rounds.

Tensions have risen in and around Hamas-ruled Gaza after a year of relative calm, with army figures showing at least 36 projectiles have been fired at southern Israel since the start of 2014.

Photo: A Palestinian youth throws a stone towards Israeli soldiers during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron on September 27, 2013.