The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said Saturday that a 15-year-old Palestinian died of his wounds hours after being shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers during clashes at the border on Friday.
Several Palestinians breached the border fence during the large protests.
The clashes came amid reports that the Strip’s Hamas rulers were considering a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel.
During the clashes, an IDF tank shelled a Hamas post in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians breached the border fence, throwing fire bombs, the army said. Aside from the 15-year-old, one more Palestinian man was killed and 25 Palestinians were reportedly injured during the clashes.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Strip, most of the protesters were injured by IDF snipers during “March of Return” demonstrations east of Gaza City and in Khan Younis.
The army said some 8,000 people took part in the protests at five sites along the border. It said the army responded with riot disposal means and live fire in accordance with appropriate rules of engagement.
In one incident several Palestinians crossed the border fence, entered Israeli territory at the Kerem Shalom crossing, and threw fire bombs and stones, before fleeing back into Gaza. “In response an IDF tank shelled a post belonging to the Hamas terror group.”
Friday’s protests were held in memory of Mohammad Tareq, a Palestinian terrorist who murdered an Israeli man in a terror attack in the West Bank last week.
Organizers urged Gazans to attend Friday’s protests “in order to convey a message that Palestinians will not surrender to the dictates of Israeli terrorism until the siege is lifted,” the Haaretz daily reported.
For over three months, there have been near-weekly, violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, leading to the most serious escalation between the two sides since the 2014 war.
The deadly clashes have seen Israeli security forces facing gunfire, grenades, Molotov cocktails and efforts — sometimes successful — to damage or penetrate the border fence. Last month, one Israeli soldier was killed by a sniper.
According to the Gaza health ministry, 157 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the “March of Return” protests on March 30. Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members.
Hamas, an Islamist terror group which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, seeks to destroy Israel.