GAZA CITY: Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager near the border fence with the Gaza Strip on Friday, according to Palestinian officials.
Israel’s military said soldiers had been fending off Palestinians who had approached and tried to sabotage its security fence. The military also said the demonstrators threw a number of explosive devices.
Residents in Gaza said a few dozen Palestinians had approached the border fence, an area in which Israel’s military, citing security concerns, enforces a “no go” zone.
Some in the crowd hurled stones at the barrier, residents said. One 16-year-old was killed and four other people were wounded by live fire, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.
An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers had “identified a number of attempts to approach the fence as well as a number of attempts to sabotage it.”
“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and 0.22 caliber rounds,” the spokesman said. “A report regarding the death of a Palestinian is being looked into.”
Israeli soldiers have been confronted by frequent Palestinian protests that often turn violent along the Gaza border. They have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators who the military said hurled rocks or petrol bombs at them.
The organizers of those protests said they had called off this week’s mass-demonstration, but a smaller crowd still gathered.
Egypt, Qatar and the UN have been working to keep the border calm. “We are looking into information about the death of a Palestinian,” an Israeli army spokesman told AFP.
At least 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly protests began in March 2018, more than half of them during demonstrations. Others have been killed in airstrikes or by tank fire.
The often violent protests are demanding that Israel ease its blockade of the Strip and that Palestinians be allowed to return to their ancestral homes now inside Israel.
Israel accuses Hamas of orchestrating the protests. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.
Israel accuses the coastal enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the protests and using them as cover to carry out attacks.