An Israeli border police officer runs during clashes with Palestinian protesters, August 8, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dozens of Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were wounded over the weekend as hundreds of Palestinians rioted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to mark 100 days since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
On Saturday IDF troops fired shells at a Hamas outpost after an improvised explosive device exploded on the Gaza border fence, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed.
“An explosive device detonated near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. No forces were in the vicinity at the time of the explosion. No damage or casualties were caused to our forces,” read the statement.
The explosion, which didn’t cause any physical or material damage, was the fifth IED to detonate on the Gaza border fence in the past three months, and was in the same area where two IEDs were detonated on Thursday.
The Official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that one Palestinian was lightly injured in the IDF retaliatory strike east of the Shejaia neighborhood of Gaza City. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza stated that no one was taken to the hospital as a result of the artillery fire.
Meanwhile in the West Bank, dozens of Palestinian protesters, including several international and Israeli activists, were reported by Wafa to have been injured by tear-gas inhalation as they were demonstrating in the village of Kafr Kaddum east of Kalkilya.
Murad Shtewi, coordinator of the popular resistance in the village, was quoted by Wafa as saying that IDF troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters to disperse them.
The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, a coalition consisting of various groups, called on Palestinians to confront IDF soldiers and settlers immediately after the Friday prayers. The coalition is responsible for planting an IED hidden inside a Palestinian flag which seriously wounded four Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border in February.
On Friday two IDF soldiers were lightly injured by stones thrown by protesters. One was hurt near Tulkarm and evacuated to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba; the other was injured near the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus.
Three Palestinian protesters had been injured by IDF fire, according to Wafa.
About 100 Palestinians protested along the security fence near the Gaza Strip, placing flags at the Erez checkpoint north of the Strip.
Wafa reported that at least seven Gazans were injured by Israeli fire during the clashes along the border fence. Three were injured by live fire near Khan Yunis, one near Nahal Oz and three near Jabalya, including one who was injured after he was hit in the head by a tear-gas canister.
According to the army, protests have been getting more violent in recent weeks, with protesters bringing firearms and grenades to use against IDF troops on the other side of the fence.
Following the February incident which wounded the four soldiers, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis warned that “these spontaneous demonstrations are also used for terrorist activity, and these events will be met with an uncompromising response.”
Last week Israel dropped tear gas on protesters from an unmanned aerial vehicle, the first time a drone was used in such a way.