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The mother of a Palestinian who was killed during a protest near the Israeli Erez crossing, reacts at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

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GAZA (Reuters) - A Palestinian teenager was killed on Wednesday when a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during a border protest hit him in the head, Gaza health officials said.

A Gaza health ministry spokesman said the incident had occurred close to the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip and that 24 people had been wounded.

An Israeli army spokesman said about 1,000 Gazans had gathered near the border, close to the Erez passenger crossing, and hurled rocks and other objects at troops and burned tyres.

Troops used anti-riot means, including tear gas and rubber bullets, and, when necessary, live fire, he said.

At least 193 Palestinians have been killed since protests began in Gaza on March 30 to demand the easing of an Israeli-Egyptian economic blockade and the right of return to lands that Palestinian families fled or were driven from on Israel's founding in 1948.

During this year's protests, a Gaza sniper has killed one Israeli soldier and incendiary devices flown over by Palestinians using kites and helium balloons have set off fires that destroyed tracts of forest and farmland in Israel.

Israel accuses the Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza and which has fought three wars against Israel in the past decade, of deliberately provoking violence during the protests. Hamas denies the charge.

More than two million people are packed into Gaza, whose economic plight is a focus of so-far fruitless U.S.-led efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, stalled since 2014.

(Reporting by Saleh Salem, writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Reuters