Gazan dies of wounds from Friday’s clashes; IDF shoots at border suspect
MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)
A Palestinian wounded by Israeli live fire during the fifth week of Gaza border clashes died on Thursday, Gazan Health Ministry reported.
The 19 year-old was identified as Anas Abu Aser and was said to have been injured in the East of the Gaza Strip amid last Friday’s protests.
Meanwhile, Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops opened fire at a suspect attempting to tamper with security infrastructure along the border fence in the northern part of the coastal enclave. The man was said to be in possession of a knife and a box cutter.
The individual has since been arrested and taken for treatment at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center by helicopter with a gunshot injury to the knee where he will also receive support at the trauma center, the Times of Israel reported citing a hospital spokesman. After, he will be taken into interrogation.
A group of Palestinian youths were said to have removed a part of the secondary barrier constructed by the Israeli army as part of a buffer zone between Gaza and Israel, Ma’an news reported.
The Israeli military has reported an uptick in attempts to breach and damage the border fence during the 'Great March of Return' protests that have taken place every Friday for the last five weeks along the Gaza-Israel border.
During the most recent protests the IDF said an unusually large number of people made a "highly organized" attempt to break through the border fence, which was thwarted. The IDF said that "hundreds of violent rioters" had attempted to break into Israel on Friday, although crowds continued to thin compared to the first weeks of the demonstrations.
"The rioters approached the fence, threw bombs, hand grenades, Molotov cocktails, stones and tried to set the fence on fire," a military statement said, adding that soldiers responded "according to procedure" and foiled the attempt.
Several attempts by Gazans to enter Israel have been made during the last two months, including a number who were armed with knives and grenades.
On Sunday, Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians and arrested another as they attempted to break through the border fence.
The IDF has repeatedly defended its use of live fire claiming that those surging the border pose a threat. They argue that live fire is only used as a last resort after non-lethal means have failed to stop actions it considers “a real danger” to Israeli troops and civilians living near the border with Gaza.
Israel has faced a barrage of international criticism for its conduct, the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation into the deaths, but the Jewish State has rejected the idea.
The death toll of those killed by Israeli live fire since the mass demonstrations began in the Gaza Strip now stands at 49. More than 600 Palestinians were injured on Friday, and at least 1500 in total have been wounded since March 30.
A 15-year-old boy, Azzam Oweida succumbed to his wounds on Saturday after he was shot in the head during Friday’s clashes.
No Israelis have been reported hurt.
Protest organizers say they are demanding the right to return to ancestral homelands in what is now Israel, while Israel accuses Hamas and other groups of using the rallies as cover to commit acts of violence against Israel.
Protests are set to climax on May 15 when Israel will mark 70 years years of independence -- a day Palestinians mark as the “nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic) -- and the United States will cut the ribbon on its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem.
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