The military announced on Twitter on Friday that it had rescued a foreign national whose boat had been drifting off of the shores of Gaza.
The man, a French sailor whose boat had no steering system and a broken radio, had been lost in the Mediterranean Sea for weeks and was found Thursday night by the Israeli navy. The 916 navy patrol squadron approached and identified a ship with a man aboard.
rescued a French sailor last night who was lost at sea for weeks with a broken radio and no steering system,” read the tweet adding that “Our soldiers came across his boat near the Gaza Strip, rescued him, and took him for medical treatment. May he make his way home safely soon!”
Attached to the tweet was a photo of a smiling elderly man wearing a jacket and hat in an ambulance giving the thumbs up with three smiling soldiers.
Lt. Col. Guy Barak, commander of platoon 916, said, "After the ship was identified, the platoon members acted swiftly to rescue the man and bring him to safety, as well as providing first aid aboard our ship. We will continue to carry out our mission throughout the year and in all weather conditions "
Also on Friday, some 10,000 Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in several locations along the Gaza border fence as part of the weekly Great Return Marches on Friday, burning tires,throwing rocks and hand grenades at Israeli troops.
IDF troops responded by riot-dispersal means, including firing rubber-coated steel rounds and live bullets at the protesters.
Palestinian Wafa news reported that three ambulance vehicles were directly hit by teargas canisters fired by troops.
At least 14 Palestinians were injured, including two journalists and three paramedics, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reported. While most of the wounded were treated in the field, some were transferred to hospital for further medical care. There were no fatalities.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli soldiers detained an unarmed Palestinian who had infiltrated into Israel from Gaza. The IDF later cleared for release that he was a Hamas member.
“The suspect approached the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit adding that “then, under constant IDF surveillance, he crossed the security fence and subsequently surrendered himself to the troops who arrived at the scene.”
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza over 240 Palestinians have been killed and over 22,000 others injured since the beginning of the Great March of Return protests along Gaza border which began on March 30,calling for an end of the 12 year long Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Another 25,000 have been wounded.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed and several wounded since March, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during a botched special forces operation inside Gaza.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in the blockaded coastal enclave has warned numerous times that health facilities and services will soon be forced to cease operation due to a severe fuel crisis.