Israeli troops on Saturday detained three Palestinian boys armed with a knife who crossed into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
“IDF soldiers a short time ago arrested three suspects that crossed the security fence in the south of the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The suspects were arrested after IDF forces encircled and scoured the area where they crossed. The suspects will be investigated by security personnel,” the army said.
The IDF later said the suspects were 13-year-olds and had carried a knife with them.
The arrest follows several incidents on the restive border.
On Friday, two Palestinian teens were reportedly killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border in what the IDF called “especially violent” riots.
The IDF had no immediate comment on the deaths but said some 6,200 Palestinians took part in the weekly “March of Return,” including hundreds who rioted.
On Friday night incoming rockets set off sirens in Israeli communities along the Gaza border. The IDF said it had identified five projectiles that had crossed the border into Israeli territory.
Israeli artillery and aircraft attacked several military targets belonging to the Hamas terror group in the northern Gaza Strip in retaliation, the IDF said.
Also on Saturday Gaza terrorists piloted an armed drone into Israel, the IDF said.
It did not specify if the explosive detonated, but said a military vehicle was lightly damaged in the incident.
The IDF said it opened fire at the cell responsible for the drone. No Israeli soldiers were hurt and there were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, weighed in on the protests on Friday, criticizing Israel for the killing of the two protesters in a Twitter post.
“Two #Palestinian teenagers killed today at the #Gaza protests. Appalling! #Israel must calibrate its use of force, use lethal force only as a last resort, and only in response to imminent threat of death or serious injury. Protests must be peaceful. The cycle of violence must end,” Mladenov wrote.
The deadly clashes came just days after Israel lifted restrictions on fuel deliveries to Gaza, a week after curbing them by half due to rocket and mortar fire from the coastal enclave.
Since the outbreak of protests on the Gaza border last year, Israel has intermittently taken a number of steps to curb outbreaks of violence from the coastal territory, such as closing border crossings, cutting fuel shipments and reducing the permitted fishing area off the coast of the Strip. It has rolled back such moves following decreases in violence.
A deal was brokered several months ago by UN and Egyptian officials to end several violent flare-ups in recent months between Israel and Hamas, which have fought three devastating wars since 2008, and to help stabilize the territory and prevent a humanitarian collapse.
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