Israeli army to step up response to Gaza demonstrations

Pauline Gross
October 21, 2018

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday met with an Egyptian security delegation in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Palestinian rioters gather at the Israel-Gaza border fence.

The militant Hamas group praised the turnout as a challenge to Israel, which was mulling a large-scale military response after a rocket was sacked from Gaza on Wednesday and destroyed a house in southern Israel.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza claimed 130 Palestinians were wounded in the disturbances.

The large Israeli military deployment on Friday came a day after Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East, said: "We remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that nobody claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to prevent".

The Hamas-led committee organizing the riots released a video marking the 30th week since the "March of Return" campaign was launched with the slogan: "Together Gaza rises up and the West Bank unites."The video calls the Palestinians to attend Friday's riots in droves".

At least 156 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began more than six months ago, and an Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

The Palestinian Maan news agency reported that ‎Egyptian officials who are visiting Gaza in efforts to mediate a long-term truce teamed ‎with U.N. Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov and ‎held urgent meetings with the Palestinian factions ‎in Gaza.‎.

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Palestinians have launched incendiary balloons and kites and on occasion breached the frontier fence.

Israeli aircraft carried four airstrikes on arson balloons launchers. During the 51-day assault, over 2,100 Palestinians were killed, with another 10,000 injured.

"The three armed conflicts between Israel and Hamas have had catastrophic consequences for the population of Gaza, which continues to suffer from 11 years of living under a brutal blockade", said Saleh Higazi.

Israeli soldiers stationed on the border fired tear gas canisters and live gunshots at the demonstrators who approached the fence of the border. Palestinians take part in the Friday demonstrations to secure their right of return to their homeland.

In response, Israeli air strikes targeted around 20 Hamas targets in Gaza.

Most of the casualties occurred on May 14 when Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters marking the 70th anniversary of Israel's occupation of historical Palestine and the ensuing ethnic cleansing of half a million Palestinian refugees.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 115 people were injured, many by live ammunition.

Other reports by GizPress

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