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Hamas leader says no 'deal' with Israel as Gazan killed, 37 wounded in clashes

Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, center, speaks to the protesters during his visit to the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, April 20, 2018.
AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra
A 28-year-old Palestinian was killed and 37 more were injured by Israeli fire in southern Gaza Friday

Hamas leader in Yahya Sinwar rebuffed on Friday suggestions that the Islamist group has reached an agreement with Israel despite reports of an emerging truce mediated by Egypt and the United Nations.

Anyone who says “there is a deal or understandings with the occupation does not tell the truth,” Sinwar said while visiting border demonstrations east of Gaza City.

Sinwar said Hamas is developing “understandings” with Qatar, Egypt, and the United Nations “in order to lift the blockade [on the Gaza Strip].”

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man identified as Rami Qahman was killed by Israeli fire east of Rafah in southern Gaza and 37 other Palestinians were shot and wounded during the violence, the ministry added.

A Gazan man was also apprehended by Israeli forces after crossing over the security fence and setting a fire to a greenhouse near the border.

"A short while ago, IDF troops spotted a suspect who crossed the security fence from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel....No weapons were found in his possession. Following an initial inquiry of the incident, it appears that the suspect ignited a fire at a nearby greenhouse. The investigation continues," a Friday evening statement from Israel Defense Forces [IDF] said.

Last Friday, the organizers of the weekly Great March of Return demonstrations in on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel are reportedly calling for ‘quieter’ protests in light of truce efforts.

Many on both sides are losing hope for a deal to be reached after months of border clashes since the demonstrations began on March 30.

SAID KHATIB (AFP)

It is unclear whether or not the Palestinians who have come to protest Israel’s land and naval blockade of the coastal enclave, will listen to calls for calm from those in charge.

The reported commitment to tone down the Gaza border riots came hours after an unexploded incendiary balloon was discovered in the yard of an Israeli kindergarten near the border.

The launching of such devices, often kites and balloons affixed with flammable liquids or explosives, has become a ubiquitous tactic used by Gaza protesters to inflict costly damage on the State of Israel without putting themselves in danger.

Israel has hardened its response to the flaming devices and other violent incidents during the border riots, which have often turned deadly as clashes erupt between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces.

Ongoing Egyptian efforts to end the months of violence have also hit stumbling blocks over disagreement among Palestinian factions and the staunch opposition of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which says that any agreement brokered without its consent would legitimize Hamas' rival administration in Gaza.

At least 214 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in months of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, dozens of which are said to be Hamas members.

One Israeli soldier has also been killed since the protests and clashes began.

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