Palestinians say 6 killed, including two boys, in Gaza border clashes

20,000 gather at border, throwing hand grenades, rocks, burning tires and sending arson balloons into Israel; troops respond with tear gas and live fire

A Palestinian youth wounded during clashes receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Yunis

Times of Israel staff and agencies write, “Six Palestinians, including two boys, were reported killed Friday as tens of thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza border fence, throwing hand grenades, rocks and burning tires in clashes with IDF troops, who responded with tear gas, live fire and air strikes. The protests was one of the largest and most violent in recent weeks and comes following the break down of indirect talks with Israel over a cease-fire and warnings that the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, was gearing up for another conflict. Six people were killed, including a 12-year-old and a14-year-old, and at least 210 Palestinians were wounded, including an 11-year-old boy, who was in a serious condition, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. It said 90 of the wounded were hit by live fire.”

“The IDF said about 20,000 Palestinians were taking part in violent protests, spread out among a few locations along the Gaza security fence. In several instances they threw hand grenades and explosive devices at soldiers. In two cases IAF aircraft carried out strikes against grenade throwers, the army said, noting there were no injuries to IDF forces. One of the strikes was on a Hamas post, the army said. IDF troops were also responding with tear gas and other less-lethal riot dispersal means as well as live fire “in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the army said.”…

A Palestinian protester throws a stone toward Israeli forces

“The riots have increased in recent weeks, going from a weekly event to near nightly protests since Hamas halted indirect talks with Israel aimed at a ceasefire. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has also worsened and reconciliation talks with the Palestinian Authority have broken down. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and actively calls for Israel’s destruction, has increased the pace of rioting and demonstrations against Israel, and created new units tasked with sustaining tensions along the border fence including during nighttime and early morning hours.”…

“Israeli officials believe there are two main causes pushing Hamas toward military escalation, the newspaper report said — the failed reconciliation talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which controls the West Bank and has maintained a chokehold on Gaza’s finances in a bid to pressure Hamas to cede control of the territory, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis of the enclave under the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, made worse in recent months by the US slashing its aid to the PA and its funding for UNRWA, the UN body responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, which funds schools and major relief projects in the Strip. (more…)

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