GAZA: An Israeli soldier and two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, were seriously injured in cross-border fire along the Gaza border on Saturday that wounded 39 other Palestinians, officials said.
The violence broke out during a Gaza protest organised by the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas and other factions in support of Jerusalem, where Palestinian clashes with Israeli police helped spark an 11-day Israel-Hamas conflict in May.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the heavily fortified border area, where some tried to scale the border fence and others threw explosives towards Israeli troops, the Israeli military said.
“IDF (Israeli military) troops responded with riot dispersal means, including when necessary live fire," it said in a statement.
Gaza’s health ministry said a 13-year-old boy was in critical condition after being shot in the head. It described most of the other injuries as moderate, including gun shots to limbs, backs and abdomens.
Cross-border fire from Gaza critically injured an Israeli border police soldier, who is in hospital receiving medical treatment, the military said. There was no claim of responsibility for the Gaza gunfire.
The border incidents come days after Israel announced a resumption of Qatari aid to Gaza, a move seen as bolstering an Egyptian-mediated truce to the May fighting.
Several Palestinian leaders gave speeches near the protest site, where they called on Israel to lift restrictions Gaza, Palestinian media reported.
Israel keeps Gaza under a blockade, tightly restricting movement out of the territory that is home to 2 million Palestinians. Egypt also maintains restrictions on the enclave. Both cite threats from Hamas for the restrictions.
Gaza is among territories where Palestinians seek a future state, along with the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Middle East war.
(Writing by Rami Ayyub)
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