The IDF has launched an investigation into the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teens during riots that took place along the border fence on Friday.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the two boys as Bilal Mustafa Khafaja, 17, and Ahmad Abu Tyour, 16, both from Rafah.
Khafaja was shot in the chest by an IDF sniper on Friday while taking part in the weekly March of Return protest near the border fence east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Abu Tyour, critically injured by an IDF sniper, succumbed to his wounds on Saturday.
Palestinian media showed a video of Abu Tyour waving his hands at Israeli troops before he hurled a rock at them, waving again for several seconds and then being shot.
The PA Health Ministry reported 400 Palestinians were injured, most from tear gas inhalation. The ministry stated 147 wounded people were transferred to the hospital, including 100 injured by live fire. The ministry said that three paramedics, three journalists and 12 children were among those hospitalized.
Around 7,000 Palestinians reportedly took part in Friday’s weekly March of Return protests.
Riots broke out at several points along the border fence.
IDF troops responded to the barrage of rocks and Molotov cocktails with tear gas and other crowd dispersal methods, while IDF aircraft struck two Hamas observations posts
in the coastal enclave. One post was struck in response to a grenade thrown toward troops along the border, while the second was bombed after protesters damaged military infrastructure, according to an IDF statement released Friday.
Incendiary balloons and kites were also flown across the border fence, setting off at least two brush fires in the Gaza periphery.
A fire kite became entangled on an antenna at Kerem Shalom, the spokesperson for the Southern Fire Fighting service said on Friday.
The weekly protests along the border which began March 30 have been the greatest threat to Israeli security in the region since Operation Protective Edge in 2014 due to the combination of terror tunnels, riots, attempted infiltrations and the use of incendiary items, such as kites and balloons.
Also on Saturday, IDF troops arrested four Palestinians suspected of attempting to cross the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
The suspects were carrying an ax and a knife, according to a statement from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. They were transferred then to security forces for questioning.
The international community has charged that Israel has used excessive force in responding to the riots. More than 174 Palestinians have been killed and 17,500 others injured since the weekly Friday protests along the Gaza border began almost half a year ago.
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