One Palestinian said killed, 312 wounded, in Gaza border protests
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One Palestinian said killed, 312 wounded, in Gaza border protests

Soldier lightly wounded by shrapnel from explosive device; arson balloons and kites cause seven blazes inside Israel; IAF carries out several strikes on balloon launchers

Palestinian protesters gather during a demonstration along the Israeli border fence east of Gaza City on September 21, 2018 as smoke plumes billow from burning tires in the background. (AFP/Said Khatib)
Palestinian protesters gather during a demonstration along the Israeli border fence east of Gaza City on September 21, 2018 as smoke plumes billow from burning tires in the background. (AFP/Said Khatib)

One Palestinian was reported killed and at least 312 were wounded as some 10,000 Palestinians protested on the Gaza Strip border on Friday, with some throwing explosive devices and rocks and burning tires, as soldiers responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

One Israeli soldier was lightly injured by shrapnel from a pipe bomb thrown at troops, the army said, adding that it spotted a number of infiltration attempts.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said that a 25-year-old was shot and killed at one of the protests. Fifty-four others were hurt by live fire, the ministry said.

It identified the dead man as Kareem Mohammad Kolab.

“IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with standard operating procedures,” the army said.

Palestinians also sent fire balloons and kites into Israel, causing at least seven blazes along the border. Palestinian sources said an IDF aircraft fired at a group launching incendiary devices. The IDF confirmed several strikes in northern Gaza but gave no further details.

Firefighters were still battling four blazes, a spokesperson said on Friday evening.

Gaza has seen a surge of violence since the start of the “March of Return” protests along the border in March. The clashes, which Gaza’s Hamas rulers have orchestrated, have included rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on troops, as well as attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary airborne devices toward Israel, burning thousands of acres of forest and farmland resulting in millions of shekels of estimated damages.

More than 130 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of the clashes, according to AP figures. An Israeli soldier was shot to death by a Palestinian sniper. Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seized control of Gaza in 2007 and seeks to destroy Israel, has acknowledged that dozens of the Palestinian fatalities were its members.

Additionally, Israel and Hamas have engaged in a number of brief exchanges of fire in recent months that have seen terror groups in Gaza launch hundreds of rockets and mortars toward Israeli territory, including one earlier this month that was the largest flareup in violence since the 2014 war.

Reports have proliferated that Israel is in talks with Hamas, via UN and Egyptian mediation, for a long-term truce in the Strip.

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