Thousands of Palestinians rioted near the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, in what the military described as an “extremely violent” demonstration.
Rioters hurled rocks and firebombs at the troops, and in one incident – a grenade, which caused no harm. The IDF said troops thwarted numerous Palestinian attempts to breach the security fence. Gaza health officials said two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed and 450 were wounded, mostly from tear gas inhalation. The teenager was shot in the head and a second Palestinian man, 24, died of gunshot wounds to his leg and abdomen, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
Palestinian paramedic Mutasem Khatib said the teenager was throwing stones “very close to the fence” before he was shot.
”It was a critical injury from the beginning, which damaged a significant portion of his head. He died as soon as we arrived at the hospital,” he said.
Other rioters send dozens of incendiary kites and balloons flying over the border, sparking 24 fires in nearby Israeli communities.
The Palestinians’ kite terrorism campaign, launched in late April, has so far reduced over 8,000 acres of forest and agricultural land on the Israeli side of the border into ash, causing millions of dollars in damage.
Many balloons sent over the border this weekend had notes stuck to them, reading, “If we have to suffer, we will not suffer alone,” as well as photos of Palestinians who have been killed in the three-month border riot campaign orchestrated by Hamas.
Also on Saturday, The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said two Palestinians were killed and eight were injured, three seriously, in a mysterious explosion in the city’s eastern neighborhood of Shujaiyya. Some Palestinian media reports said it was a fireworks workshop, but they all ruled out Israeli involvement in the incident.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas.
Fatal work accidents, mostly in weapons manufacturing or storage facilities, are common in the territory.