IDF shoots at Gazans attempting to sabotage border fence
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IDF shoots at Gazans attempting to sabotage border fence

Firefighters extinguish fire at nature reserve caused by arson balloons; damage caused to vegetation

File: Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire in a wheat field caused by kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, May 30, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
File: Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire in a wheat field caused by kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, May 30, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli troops on Saturday shot at three Palestinian men as they attempted to sabotage the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.

A military spokeswoman said the Israel Defense Forces opened fire at the group in accordance with standard procedure. She could not say whether any of the men were hit.

Also Saturday, arson balloons launched from the Gaza Strip sparked a fire at HaBesor Stream Nature Reserve in southern Israel, firefighting services said.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames, which caused damage to foliage but no casualties.

The incidents came a day after dozens of Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli troops at various locations along the Gaza-Israel border.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry 60 people were wounded on Friday, including 36 who were shot by live fire.

Illustrative – A Palestinian man uses wire cutters on a barbed wire fence along the Gaza border with Israel during clashes, May 4, 2018. (Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

The IDF had no comment on Friday’s injuries, but a spokeswoman said that approximately 7,000 Palestinians were taking part in the Hamas-led protests along the border. She said demonstrators “hurled rocks and a number of explosive devices” toward troops, and the IDF responded in accordance with standard procedures.

The weekend border clashes come amid ongoing efforts to implement a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar recently brokered ceasefire understandings between Israel and Hamas, which Hebrew media reports have said include an end to violence emanating from the Gaza in exchange for the Jewish state easing some of its restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the coastal enclave.

Since March 2018, Palestinians have been holding weekly “March of Return” protests on the border, which Israel has accused Hamas of using to carry out attacks on troops and attempt to breach the security fence. Hamas, an Islamist terror group, seeks to destroy Israel.

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