AP Photo/Adel Hana
A Palestinian has died two days after suffering gunshot wounds in ongoing clashes on the Israel-Gaza border, the health ministry in the enclave said Sunday.
Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops responded to the hurling of grenades and flaming tires with “riots dispersal means,” an army spokesman said in a statement.
Yahya al-Hassanat, 37, was shot in the head along the border near Al-Bureij in central Gaza, the ministry said.
Five other Palestinians were also shot dead during Friday’s protests, the ministry said, while one died when a grenade he was carrying exploded accidentally, according to witnesses. Deaths included two men aged 22 and 27 years old.
Only hours before the protests erupted this week, reports emerged that Egyptian intelligence officials– who have been engaging in months of shuttle diplomacy — had successfully brokered an understanding between Israel and Hamas.
According to Al-Hayat news outlet, Hamas agreed to a cessation of border violence in exchange for Israel’s easing of the blockade on the coastal enclave.
Following news of the deal, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he was “hopeful” this Friday will pass more quietly.” Liberman’s hopes were quickly dashed.
MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)
At least 214 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in months of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, 50 of which are said to be Hamas members. One Israeli soldier has been killed since the protests and clashes began on March 30.
Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations and attacks, which it accuses Hamas of seeking to orchestrate. Palestinians and rights groups say protesters have been shot while posing little threat.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.
Later on Friday and into Saturday, Palestinian militants fired over 39 rockets into southern Israel in a period of less than 24 hours. In retaliation, IDF fighter jets struck 87 Hamas targets and 8 Islamic Jihad bases in three military compounds throughout the strip.
The violence came to an end after Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militant group who eventually claimed responsibility for launching the rockets, said it had agreed to a new Egyptian-brokered truce.
There were no reported casualties or deaths from the rocket fire and air strikes which was viewed as the largest in months.
Several military flare-ups have occurred in the months since the protests began, prompting fears of a new war between the two sides.
AFP contributed to this report