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Lebanese man killed as protesters rush Israeli border fences

IDF fires tank rounds at rioters who break through fence on frontier, set fires near Metulla; demonstrators in Jordan also approach border

Lebanese protesters demonstrate along their border with Israel on May 14, 2021. (Screen capture/Twitter)
Lebanese protesters demonstrate along their border with Israel on May 14, 2021. (Screen capture/Twitter)

A Lebanese man was killed by Israeli fire on Friday as protesters attempted to storm the border, amid roiling anger in the Arab world over fighting between Israel and Gaza and tensions over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Dozens of Lebanese protesters rioted on that country’s southern frontier with Israel, setting fires and briefly crossing into Israeli territory, according to authorities.

Israeli tanks fired warning shots at a number of the rioters who crossed the border fence between the countries, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Mohamad Hattan, 21, was one of two men who suffered wounds from Israeli shelling during the protest on the frontier between the two countries, Lebanon’s National News Agency said. The condition of the second man was not immediately known.

The incident occurred after a number of “young demonstrators tried to enter the border town of Metulla” in northern Israel, said NNA.

According to the Israeli military, the suspects “sabotaged” the border fence and set fires in the area.

Videos showed what appeared to be dozens of people rioting near the warren of fences along the Blue Line, the unofficial border between Israel and Lebanon, which technically remain at war.

The protesters, some carrying Palestinian flags and that of the group Hezbollah — arch-enemy of Israel — had gathered in the Khiam plain opposite Metulla, an AFP photographer said.

The protests came a day after rare rocket fire from the northern country toward Israel, raising fears of a new front opening as troops battle Gaza fighters led by the Hamas terror group — the de facto ruler of the strip.

Security forces have also been stretched by ongoing rioting in Jerusalem and the West Bank and deadly ethnic violence in Israeli cities where both Jewish and Arab residents live.

In Jordan, hundreds of people rushed the border with Israel after breaking through a police checkpoint, local Jordanian media report.

“With spirit and blood, we shall redeem you, O Aqsa!” the crowd chanted, referring to the mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Thousands of Jordanians also rallied in the capital Amman after Friday prayers.

On Thursday night, three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon, splashing into the sea off the coast of northern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.

An as-yet-unidentified Palestinian group was believed to be behind the attack, not the Hezbollah terrorist militia, according to Lebanese media.

A protester holds a Palestinian flag during a sit-in in support of Palestinians in the latest round of violence in Jerusalem, at Martyrs’ Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May. 10, 2021. (AP/Bilal Hussein)

A spokesperson for Hezbollah, one of Israel’s most significant enemies in the region, told Lebanon’s L’Orient Today news outlet that the terror organization was not behind the attack.

In Turkey and other locations with large Muslim populations, rallies were held Friday in support of the Palestinians. In Turkey, demonstrators urged Palestinians to “continue resistance” against Israel.

Bangladeshi Muslims protesting against Israel gather after Eid al-Fitr prayers in front of Baitul Mukarram Mosque and wave Palestinian and Bangladeshi flags in Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu)

They shouted support for militant Hamas leaders on Friday at a symbolic funeral prayer for Palestinians killed in the spate of violence this week between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

About 300 Muslims at the event hollered slogans in Turkish, including “Greetings to Hamas, continue resistance.” They called on Turkish soldiers to go to Gaza to help fight Israel and sang of the domed mosque in contested Jerusalem: “Al-Aqsa will be saved if blood flows in streams.”

Some also waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in Arabic.

Intense fighting between Israel and Gaza continued Friday, with Israel bombarding dozens of terror sites in the Strip and Hamas-led terrorists firing volley after volley of rockets at southern Israel.

As of Friday, 10 people in Israel have been killed in the current round of fighting, including a 5-year-old boy, whose funeral in Kiryat Gat was interrupted by rocket sirens

The Gaza health ministry said Friday that at least 115 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the outbreak of fighting, including 27 minors.

Judah Ari Gross, Aaron Boxerman, and AP contributed to this report.

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