Seven Palestinians killed in clashes with IDF during Gaza border protests
Seven Palestinians were killed and dozens more injured in the Gaza Strip in clashes with Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported Friday evening.
It said the seven men, ranging from 17 to 29 in age, had been killed as thousands of protesters approached the heavily-guarded Israeli border.
Shortly after, IDF said that they "wiped out terrorists who detonated an explosive on the security fence in Gaza and crossed over it."
Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said around 20 Palestinians had crossed the border in an "organized attack" after an explosive device destroyed a portion of the fence.
A later IDF statement called it a "blatant terror attack that was thwarted by IDF troops quickly and professionally which prevented a possible terror attack against civilians and IDF troops."
IDF employed live ammunition and riot dispersal means in response to other violent activity among the 15,000 rioters in several locations, with some of them throwing various explosives, molotov cocktails, stones and burning tires.
The renewed violence comes following Qatar's pledge of $150 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza that showed hope for a potential multilateral agreement to bring long-term quiet to the Israel-Gaza border.
But Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman decided Friday evening to cut off the flow of fuel into Gaza in light of Friday's violence.
"In light of the grave events in the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered a short time ago to immediately stop the flow of fuel into the Gaza Strip," the statement from the defense ministry read.
The defense ministry suggested that it would not allow the transfer of further fuel pledged by Qatar into the enclave, notwithstanding the four Israeli diesel tankers had entered in the morning.
"Israel will not tolerate a situation in which fuel tankers are allowed to enter Gaza on the one hand, while terror and violence are used against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens on the other."
But Lebanese-based newspaper Al Akhbar reported that gas has not entered the strip since Tuesday because the Palestinian Authority (PA) threatened to stop purchasing its gas from the Israeli-based company should it supply into Gaza.
Tensions between the PA and Hamas have risen as Abbas' government feels increasingly sidelined by the Gaza-based group's potential slide into the negotiator role with Israel in the conflict.
Earlier Friday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh made headlines by saying that his organization wants to “reach an understanding that will bring calm to Israel.”
But the Hamas leader also reportedly attended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the ongoing demonstrations.
Last week, three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israels Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza on Friday as some 20,000 protesters gathered at several locations along the border.
At least 205 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since protests and clashes erupted along the border on March 30. 50 of those killed have been identified as members of Hamas.
One Israeli soldier has been killed.
The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to lands now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of the Jewish state.
They are also calling for Israel to end its crippling blockade of the strip.
Israel accuses the enclave's Islamist rulers Hamas of leading the protests and using them as a cover for attacks.
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is time Isreal stop the menace permanently. enough is enough