Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip January 11, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Three Palestinians were injured during the night-time riots along the Gaza border fence with Israel on Saturday after the IAF struck two Palestinian cells launching explosive aerial devices from the Strip into Israel over the weekend.
According to local Palestinian media reports, hundreds of Gazans took part in the riots in five main locations along the border, setting fire to tires, throwing firecrackers and pointing lasers towards IDF troops deployed along the fence. Some 600 protesters returned to the border area Saturday night.
Thousands of Gazans have been protesting along the security fence on a weekly basis taking part in Great March of Return demonstrations which began on March 30. The protesters are calling for an end of the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of the coastal enclave.
Earlier on Saturday evening, Israeli aircraft struck two cells of Palestinians launching explosive balloons from al-Bureij refugee camp towards southern Israeli communities.
According to local reports, a further three Palestinians were injured in those strike in the central Gaza Strip and were transferred to the Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah.
Palestinian rioters belonging to the “night confusion unit” threw fireworks and explosives at IDF soldiers on the Gaza border, and launched several barrages of incendiary balloons at southern Israel.
Residents of border communities reported hearing loud explosions. A spokesperson from the Eshkol Regional Council said explosions were part of the violence taking place on the border, adding that the IDF was at the sites where this was taking place.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Palestinian medical officials in the Gaza Strip said that two men, aged 29 and 24, were killed by Israeli fire at two sites in central Gaza.
The Israeli military said its forces faced around 9,500 demonstrators, some hurling rocks and rolling burning tires. A military spokeswoman said troops had responded with “riot dispersal means” and fired according to standard operating procedures.
The Islamic Jihad militant group said in a statement one of the two dead men was a member of its armed wing.
He was taking part as a civilian and not as a combatant, an Islamic Jihad official told Reuters.
In Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, chief of the Islamist group Hamas which runs the enclave, urged Palestinians to attend mass rallies on Saturday to mark one year since protests began.
“We will not retreat and whoever thinks that we may retreat a single step backward before achieving our goals is wrong,” said Haniyeh as he arrived at one of the sites of the protests near the border with Israel.
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