Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Airstrikes and rockets after Palestinian teen shot dead at Gaza fence protest

Relatives of a Palestinian teenager who was killed near the border fence, mourn at the hospital in the southern Gaza Strip November 29, 2019. Reuters
Relatives of a Palestinian teenager who was killed near the border fence, mourn at the hospital in the southern Gaza Strip November 29, 2019. Reuters

Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager near the border fence with Gaza on Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

The killing came just before Israel carried out air strikes in response to a rocket fired from Gaza.

Fahd Al Astal, 16, died after being shot in the stomach east of Khan Younis. Four other Palestinians were wounded, the ministry said.

The organisers of regular protests at the border said they had called off the week’s mass demonstration, but a smaller crowd still gathered.

Residents said a small number of mostly young Palestinians approached the border fence.

Israel’s military said soldiers had been fending off Palestinians who had approached and tried to sabotage the fence. The military also said the demonstrators threw explosive devices.

“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and.22-calibre rounds,” a spokesman said.

“A report regarding the death of a Palestinian is being looked into.”

Israeli soldiers have shot and killed scores of Palestinians in recent months as thousands have turned out for weekly protests on the border of the embargoed enclave since March.

People are demonstrating against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its proposed “deal of the century” peace plan.

They are also calling on Israel to ease crippling restrictions imposed when Hamas came to power 12 years ago.

Palestinians have thrown rocks and petrol bombs, as well as sending flaming kites into Israeli security fence.

Israeli forces have responded by shooting protesters, including medics, leaving about 210 dead and upwards of 10,000 wounded – at least 6,106 with “life-changing wounds”, the UN has said.

Late on Friday, an Israeli warplane attacked a Hamas position in Gaza after a rocket was fired from the enclave.

It was the third rocket to be fired from the Palestinian territory at Israel in as many days and came two weeks after a deadly flare-up between Islamic Jihad and Israel.

On November 12, Israel assassinated a senior Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, sparking a two-day conflict that killed 36 Palestinians.

Islamic Jihad fired about 450 rockets at Israel, many of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system. No Israelis died.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007, and until this month’s escalation, Israel had held the movement responsible for all rocket fire coming from the territory.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas and allied armed groups in Gaza since 2008.

Updated: November 30, 2019 03:37 PM

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