1 killed, 90 wounded by Israel in Hamas-led Gaza protests

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Palestinian protesters escape from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. (AP)
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Palestinian medics evacuate a wounded man during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. (AP)
Updated 03 August 2018
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1 killed, 90 wounded by Israel in Hamas-led Gaza protests

  • A 25-year-old Palestinian was killed and 90 were wounded by Israeli army fire, Gaza health officials said.
  • Friday's protest was attended by several exiled Hamas leaders who had entered Gaza a day earlier for meetings of the group's decision-making political bureau.

GAZA CITY: Gaza's Hamas rulers led several thousand Palestinians in a protest along the frontier with Israel on Friday, in an apparent show of presence as Egyptian efforts intensify to broker a broad truce between the militant group and Israel.
A 25-year-old Palestinian was killed and 90 were wounded by Israeli army fire, Gaza health officials said. It was the latest in a series of protests along Gaza's perimeter fence with Israel, aimed in part at trying to break an 11-year-old border blockade. Israel and Egypt sealed Gaza in 2007, after Hamas overran the territory.
Friday's protest was attended by several exiled Hamas leaders who had entered Gaza a day earlier for meetings of the group's decision-making political bureau. "We want to break the siege on Gaza once and forever," said Hussam Badran, one of the visiting Hamas leaders.
The political bureau is discussing Egyptian proposals for a truce with Israel and the U.N.-led reconstruction of Gaza, said Ghazi Hamad, a Gaza-based official in the group. Meetings began Thursday and will continue through Saturday, Hamad said. It marked the first time all members of the political bureau got together in Gaza, Hamas has said.
Over the years, truce deals have proven fragile, and it was not clear if the current efforts would succeed. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called off a planned trip to South America and scheduled a meeting of his security Cabinet for Sunday to monitor Gaza developments.
Tensions along the Israel-Gaza fence have escalated since Hamas launched regular protests in the area in late March. Large turnout has also been driven by widespread desperation in Gaza, amid worsening conditions linked to the blockade. Power is on for just a few hours a day, unemployment has sky-rocketed and poverty is widening.
Friday's death brought to 156 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since late March, including at least 118 in protests near the fence. Others, among them armed Hamas militants, have been killed in attempted border attacks or in Israeli airstrikes. Several thousand Gazans have been wounded by Israeli fire since March.
The Israeli military said that about 8,000 Palestinians took part in Friday's rally. It said a tank fired at a Hamas military post in Gaza after Palestinians briefly crossed the frontier and threw bombs. The military said its soldiers sustained no casualties in the incident.
In another development, a boat carrying activists challenging Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is approaching the territory, said the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group for pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world.
The coalition said Friday that the Swedish-flagged vessel, Freedom, was nearly 60 miles (95 kilometers) off the coast. The boat and another vessel, which was intercepted by Israeli forces on Sunday, set sail to Gaza from Europe last week.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
Activists have made several attempts to breach the blockade in recent years, most notably in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turks in a raid at sea.


Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

Updated 20 September 2019

Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

  • Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies
  • Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Algerian capital on Friday in defiance of a heavy security presence to demand the ouster of the country's army chief.
Demonstrators gathered near the capital's main post office square, the epicentre of Algeria's protest movement that forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April, this time calling for the ouster of General Ahmed Gaid Salah.
"The people want the fall of Gaid Salah," the strongman in post-Bouteflika Algeria, they chanted. "Take us all to prison, the people will not stop."
Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of security forces in the city centre and along its main avenues.
Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies.
The tougher line on protests came just days after interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika's departure.
The army chief has led the push for polls by the end of 2019, despite mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president's loyalists -- including Gaid Salah himself -- before any vote.
In the runup to the latest rally, as on previous Fridays, police made several arrests near the square, AFP photographers said.
Police stopped vehicles on main streets in the capital and an AFP journalist saw officers in plainclothes ask for identity papers, before some were led off to nearby vans.
As a police helicopter scoured the skies, security forces also stopped cars headed towards the city centre from its southwest entrance, where a dozen anti-riot police vans were stationed.
Said Salhi, deputy head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, condemned the heightened security measures as "illegal".
Demonstrations have officially been banned in Algiers since 2001 but the prohibition had been ignored since rallies started on February 22 against the ailing Bouteflika's bid for a fifth presidential term.