Palestinians say two protesters killed in clashes with IDF

One teen shot dead in riot along Gaza fence, the other killed during a violent demonstration outside Nablus

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Illustrative: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Palestinian officials said that two teenage protesters were killed by Israeli soldiers on Thursday, one during a violent demonstration along the Gaza fence and the second in a clash with troops outside the city of Nablus.

The Gaza health ministry said that in addition to the teenage protester killed, three people were wounded by Israeli gunfire during violent protests along the security fence across from the central Gaza city of el-Bureij. A ministry spokesperson said the extent of their injuries were not immediately known.

The official Palestinian Wafa news outlet reported that another Palestinian teenage protester had been shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes near the Iraq Burin refugee camp, south of Nablus. Four more were reportedly injured in the exchange.

The Palestinian Ma’an news site quoted local residents as saying that the shots were fired during a violent demonstration that broke out in response to a checkpoint that the army had set up in the area, as part of the military’s ongoing search for the terrorists who shot and killed an Israeli man, Raziel Shevach, on Tuesday night on a nearby highway.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said that Palestinians at the checkpoint began throwing “massive amounts of rocks” at troops.

In response, the soldiers fired live rounds at the “main instigators,” the spokesperson said.

She added that the army was aware of and looking into the reports that a protester had been killed and four more injured.

Wafa identified the slain protester as 16-year-old Omar Qino.

The Gaza health ministry, which is controlled by the Hamas terrorist group, identified the Palestinian killed outside el-Buriej as 16-year-old Amir Abd al-Hamid Abu Moussad.

The IDF confirmed that shots were fired at three “main instigators” who were approaching the Gaza barrier, but would not say if the military was aware of Palestinian casualties.

The army said that in addition to the el-Bureij demonstration, a second violent protest took place along the fence in the southern Gaza Strip. In total, dozens of Palestinian took part in the two riots, rolling burning tires and throwing rocks at the security fence and the soldiers on the other side, the army said.

An IDF spokesperson said that warning shots were first fired into the air, but as protesters continued toward the border shots were fired directly at them as they posed a “danger to the fence.”

Gaza residents have staged regular protests at the barrier around the Strip since US President Donald Trump announced he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, in a move that infuriated Palestinians.

Dov Lieber contributed to this report.

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