Palestinian child dies of wounds after border clash: Gaza ministry

Relatives mourn around body of Palestinian child Ahmed Abu Abed, lying in a hospital morgue in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip (AFP Photo/SAID KHATIB)

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - A four-year-old Palestinian boy has died after being injured during clashes between the Israeli army and protesters along the Gaza border, the health ministry in Gaza said.

"Ahmed Abu Abed, aged four years and eight months, died as a result of the wounds he received last Friday east of Khan Yunis," health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement late Tuesday.

The statement did not provide further details on how the child was injured.

In the hospital where the boy died, 38 year-old Bassem told AFP he was the child's uncle.

He said Abu Abed was injured by shrapnel when his father was shot during regular Friday protests along the border.

It was not clear why the child had been taken to the border protests and there was no independent confirmation of the circumstances.

His funeral will take place on Wednesday.

The Israeli army said it was reviewing the incident, while accusing Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas of using residents as cover for attacks.

"The Hamas terrorist organisation cynically uses Gaza residents, especially women and children, as human shields and places them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life," the army said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Facing this reality, the IDF (army) does everything possible to avoid harming children."

Palestinians have been protesting along the Gaza border at least weekly since March 30, triggering repeated clashes with the army.

At least 235 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, the majority during clashes on the border but others in air strikes or by tank fire.

Two Israelis have been killed over the same period.