Nearly 7,000 Palestinians participated in weekly protests along the Gaza border Friday, the Israeli military said, the first demonstration since Israel reached new ceasefire understandings with Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces said some of the protesters burned tires and hurled rocks as well as explosive devices at soldiers.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry reported that 40 demonstrators were injured by Israeli troops, at least 16 of whom were wounded by live fire.
Palestinian media said a tear gas canister fired by the Israeli army hit a Red Crescent ambulance near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Two Gazans were arrested after crossing the security fence, with one of them carrying a knife, according to the IDF.
Last Friday, Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group reached a new ceasefire agreement. An Israeli official confirmed that the country had agreed to a number of economic concessions for Gaza in exchange for an end to arson attacks and other violence along the border.
Israel also agreed to extend the fishing zone off the Gaza coast to 15 nautical miles and to restore the supply of fuel to the Palestinian territory, the official said.
Since the deal went into effect there has been a marked drop in the number of airborne arson attacks, though they have not stopped completely.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has faced considerable criticism from southern residents and politicians on both sides of the aisle for what they say is a failure to adequately respond to ongoing violence by Hamas and other terror groups from the Gaza Strip, either militarily or via a long-term truce.
Since violence along the border began picking up last March, residents of the Gaza periphery have also held a number of protests throughout the country in response to what they see as government inaction in the face of terrorism.
Last month saw a fresh surge in serious violence between the two sides, including two nights of rocket attacks and retaliatory Israeli air force strikes.