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90 wounded in Gaza violence

Israeli soldiers shot and wounded at least 90 Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip on Wednesday during marches in support of a prisoner hunger strike, medical sources said.

Soldiers fired live ammunition, plastic bullets and tear gas to disperse several thousand demonstrators outside the Red Cross headquarters in the Rafah refugee camp, witnesses said. Palestinians threw stones and at least five firebombs, they said.

The clashes were the worst in the Gaza Strip in five months.

The protests were in support of an 11-day-old hunger strike by thousands of Arab prisoners demanding better treatment and conditions.

Palestinian sources said Palestinian leaders and Israeli police ministry officials had been in contact in an effort to end the fast.

Israel says the strike is a political move to bolster the Palestinian position at Middle East peace talks resuming Oct. 21 in Washington.