Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Rockets from Gaza Strip hit Israel after four killed at border protest

No casualties were reported from the rockets and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility

The Israeli army fires tear-gas at Palestinian protesters during clashes near the border between Israel and Gaza Strip on Saturday. EPA
The Israeli army fires tear-gas at Palestinian protesters during clashes near the border between Israel and Gaza Strip on Saturday. EPA

Rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel early on Sunday, according to the Israeli military, hours after four Palestinians were killed in protests at the enclave's border fence.

The rocket fire threatened to undermine Egyptian-mediated efforts to cement a deal that the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers hope will ease a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the crowded territory.

No casualties were reported from the rockets and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility.

Thousands of Palestinians rallied in the Gaza Strip on Saturday to mark the anniversary of their mass protests along the Israeli border.

Most demonstrators kept their distance from the border, though small crowds of activists approached the perimeter fence and threw stones and explosives toward Israeli troops on the other side. The forces fired tear gas and opened fire, killing four Palestinians, including three teenagers, and wounding 64.

Hamas had pledged to keep the crowds a safe distance from the fence to avoid inflaming the political atmosphere during negotiations of a possible easing of the blockade.

Hamas officials say that Israel is offering a package of economic incentives in exchange for calm along the volatile border.

Khalil Al Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said the group had received "positive signs" from the Egyptians. He added that the Egyptian team was to return to Israel on Sunday to continue the talks. "We will continue our marches until all our goals are achieved," he said.

Saturday's protest came at a sensitive time, with Israel and Hamas, bitter enemies that have fought three wars and dozens of smaller skirmishes, both having a strong interest in keeping things quiet.

_____________

Gallery: Gaza turns out to mark a year of deadly protest

_____________

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking his fourth consecutive term in April 9 elections, but is facing a serious challenge from a group of former army chiefs who have criticised what they say is his failed Gaza policy. With a lack of alternatives, Mr Netanyahu has been forced at times to rely on Hamas to maintain stability along Israel's volatile southern front.

Updated: March 31, 2019 02:47 PM

SHARE

SHARE