A Palestinian man was killed and another was seriously injured by Israeli fire during violent demonstrations along the Gaza border Thursday night, authorities in the Hamas-run enclave said.
Thursday marked the sixth day in a row that Palestinians held fiery demonstrations along the frontier, burning tires and hurling explosives at Israeli troops stationed along the border, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The Israeli military acknowledged using live fire as well as non-lethal crowd control measures to disperse the rioters.
Ahmed Mustafa Salah, 26, was identified as the fatality, according to Palestinian media reports.
Health officials in the strip said another four people were also shot and suffered non life-threatening injuries during
Ten Palestinians required treatment for tear gas inhalation, according to Hamas officials.
An IDF official told The Times of Israel that the military used crowd dispersal methods to counter the violent protest.
“More than 1,000 rioters gathered this evening at multiple locations next to the fence along the Gaza Strip,” said the official. “The rioters burned tires and threw explosives. IDF troops, who were deployed in the area, used crowd control methods, and, as needed, responded with sniper fire.”
Palestinians hurl explosive devices toward the Gaza border during the sixth night in a row of violent demonstrations.
According to reports in Gaza a number of Palestinians have been hurt from IDF fire and tear gas. No comment yet from the Hamas-run health ministry. pic.twitter.com/vcKyNLn0zq
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) September 2, 2021
AFP journalists said there were protests in several areas along the border with projectiles being used against Israeli troops who retaliated at times. Reports in Gaza claimed fighters opened fired toward an IDF drone that was flying over demonstrators east of Gaza City.
Palestinian rioters from so-called “night confusion brigades” have been gathering along the border every night since the weekend to cause havoc, as part of efforts to increase pressure on Israel to ease a blockade.
But Thursday’s violence marked a significant escalation in fighting after days of low level clashes, and came as the Israeli military has come under pressure regarding its policies for the use of the lethal force.
An initial probe into the Saturday shooting of Israeli Border Police officer Barel Hadaria Shmueli, who later died of his wounds, found that rioters on the border were able to reach his position because other soldiers had been told to hold fire.
Some opponents of the current government have asserted that it has imposed new restrictions on troops along the border, due to its dependence on the Arab Ra’am party. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi dismissed allegations Thursday that the rules of engagement or a lack of equipment were to blame for Shmueli’s death.
“The soldiers and commanders are equipped with all of the tools and with open-fire rules that are clear. Claims to the contrary are baseless and are nothing but a total lie,” he said. “Any soldier that feels threatened and at risk, in war or peacetime, is allowed to, needs to, and is required to take action and remove the threat.”
Saleh became the third Palestinian to die in the recent protests, along with a 13-year-old boy, Omar Abu Nil, and Hamas member Osama Duiej, both of whom were shot on Saturday and succumbed to their wounds days later.
Israel on Wednesday said it would ease Gaza restrictions despite unrest, expanding Gaza’s fishing zone, increasing its water supply and allowing more Palestinian traders and goods to enter the Jewish state.
Israel said it was completely opening the Kerem Shalom crossing for the passage of equipment and goods and increasing water supply to the Gaza Strip by an additional 5 million cubic metres, or 175 million cubic feet.
Times of Israel staff, Judah Ari Gross and agencies contributed to this report.