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IDF soldiers prepare a drone for usage near the Gaza border, May 15th, 2018..(Photo by: ANNA AHRONHEIM)
Two Palestinians killed, hundreds injured in clashes along Gaza border
By ANNA AHRONHEIM
05/15/2018
4,000 Palestinians took part in the second-consecutive day of demonstrations in five spots along fence.
Two Palestinians were killed and over a hundred were injured by IDF troops in clashes along the Gaza border on Tuesday.

Palestinian news agency Wafa identified one fatality as Ahmad Gharab, 51, from the Nuseirat refugee camp, saying he was shot by IDF fire. Dozens of others sustained injuries from live bullets or suffered tear gas inhalation, according to the report.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said, following a joint investigation conducted by the army and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), that at least 24 of the Palestinians killed during Monday’s riots were terrorists, mostly belonging to Hamas and some to Islamic Jihad. Hamas claims a total of 62 Gazans were killed that day.

Early on Tuesday, rocket sirens heard in the Eshkol region bordering the Gaza Strip sent residents into bomb shelters before being declared a false alarm by the IDF.

According to the army, there were almost no Gazans visible along the fence until around 2 p.m., when buses arrived with protesters who gathered in several spots, setting tires on fire and launching incendiary kites toward Israel. In the late afternoon, IDF troops arrested several males who attempted to infiltrate Israel. The suspects were arrested near the security fence and taken for questioning.

By 8 p.m., the army reported a total of some 4,000 Palestinians violently demonstrating in five locations along the border, throwing Molotov cocktails at troops and burning tires.

There have been more soldiers than usual stationed on the border for two months, but they were recently reinforced by additional IDF battalions, police and border police to thwart the mass infiltration of Palestinians that Hamas had planned.

Gazans have been protesting along the border for six weeks, as part of what organizers call the “Great March of Return.” But the mass protests on Monday were said by the army to be unprecedented in their level of violence, with demonstrators using grenades, incendiary kites, drones, live fire toward IDF troops and improvised explosive devices. The number of women seen taking part in the protests with their children also surprised the army.

Smoke is seen near the Gaza border (Credit: Anna Ahronheim)

On Tuesday, the IDF released details on an attack it thwarted during the riots along the northern part of border.

One attack from the northern Strip occurred after an intelligence alert was received that a Hamas squad was planning to place an explosive charge on the fence to allow for a mass infiltration of Israel.

Commandos from the IDF’s Maglan unit, which specializes in operating behind enemy lines using advanced technologies and weaponry, stationed themselves opposite the expected attack point.

When the squad of eight terrorists emerged from amid the violent demonstration that was taking place, two IDF armored vehicles drove over the fence and were attacked by the cell with explosives and light arms.

The cell fired at troops from two locations, one a hill some 200 meters from the security fence, and another point some 30 meters from the border.

Troops then engaged the cell, opening fire at them from Israeli territory while a tank and IAF aircraft struck the terrorists’ position. All eight terrorists were killed in the exchange of gunfire.

“Yesterday, during a violent riot, which included the burning of tires, throwing of pipe bombs and throwing of stones, we saw shots fired at our forces and realized that Hamas operatives were the ones who carried out the shooting. Due to this, the crowd dispersed and I gave an order to fire. The fighters were operating professionally, with great courage and precision, and prevented a significant shooting attack on our forces,” a commander in the unit said.

A pistol, grenade launchers, explosive charges and preparations for opening the fence were found where the firefight took place, the army said.
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