A Palestinian teenager died of his wounds on Saturday after being shot by Israeli troops during weekly clashes along the Gaza border, the Hamas-run health ministry said.
A ministry statement identified him as Mohmen al-Hams, 17, and said he was shot in the chest during protests near the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Friday.
The teenager was the third reported fatality from this week’s clashes, with the Gaza health ministry saying a 43-year-old man and 12-year-old boy were shot dead Friday along the border.
According to the ministry’s figures, 157 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the violent “March of Return” protests in late March. Hamas, the terror group that runs Gaza, has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members.
The Israeli military said around 7,000 Palestinians participated in riots in several locations along the border. In addition to hurling rocks and burning tires, protestors attacked troops with pipe bombs, a Molotov cocktail and a grenade. None managed to clear the fence, and fell in Gazan territory.
In another incident, the army said troops saw several suspects approach the fence, sabotage it and move back.
The Israel Defense Forces said soldiers responded to the violence with less-lethal means as well as live fire in certain instances.
Some time after the protests ended, gunmen fired at IDF soldiers near the border, causing no casualties. In response the military launched a strike on a nearby Hamas observation post.
Earlier, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike on a squad of Palestinians in northern Gaza as they flew incendiary balloons towards Israel, the army said. Palestinians said there were no casualties in the attack.
A senior Israeli official told Hadashot news: “Hamas is playing with fire and it will get a conflagration.”
Since March 30, southern Israel has experienced many fires as a result of incendiary devices attached to balloons or kites launched from Gaza across the border into Israeli territory.
Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials. The attacks have continued almost daily, although there has been a marked reduction in numbers since last weekend, when Hamas said it agreed to a ceasefire.
Despite the drop, violence flared Wednesday and early Thursday after a Hamas sniper shot and injured an IDF officer. Israel responded with tank fire and airstrikes on Hamas targets, and rockets were fired from the Palestinian territory at communities in southern Israel.
The military has also bolstered troop presence in the West Bank after a Palestinian assailant sneaked into a West Bank settlement and stabbed three people Thursday, killing one.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said late Thursday it was sending two more brigades to the West Bank following the deadly terrorist attack in Adam. The move comes as Israel has also raised its military alert level in the Golan amid flare-ups there.