Gaza Protesters Shoot Across Israeli Border; Three Palestinians Wounded by IDF Fire

Violence comes three days after Palestinian militants launch rocket from Gaza into southern Israel; protests erupt across the West Bank as well, against Israel's security barrier.

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Palestinians in Gaza protested near the Israeli border on Friday, and fired at IDF forces stationed on the other side of the fence.

The protest took place in the vicinity of Kfar Aza, near the security fence, and according to an IDF report, demonstrators hurled firebombs and burning tires across the border. No Israelis were reported wounded, but the windshield of an IDF officer's vehicle was damaged by a bullet.

In response, IDF soldiers fired live rounds at the Palestinian attackers. None of the three wounded in the incident was seriously hurt, a Palestinian medical source said.

The new bout of violence came three days after Palestinian militants launched a rocket from Gaza into southern Israel for the first time since the Nov. 21 truce brokered by Egypt ended eight days of cross-border air strikes and rocket attacks.

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz spoke Friday in Rosh Ha'ayin and said that "the goals of operation Pillar of Defense were fully achieved."

"Nearly four months have passed without any incidents in the area. Gaza is Gaza, Samson fought there, and now it's our turn, and it's unclear if it is behind us I have no doubt regarding whose side is stronger, and the truth is that they also have no doubt. "

When asked about the missile that was fired into Israel earlier this week - the first such incident since operation Pillar of Defense - Gantz said: "It's one rocket, and I am limited in my answers, because there are some things I cannot talk about; but I understand the circumstances surrounding its firing." He told the students that IDF forces consider it "a serious event, even if it was isolated."

Meanwhile, protests took place across the West Bank as well, as hundreds of Palestinian protesters clashed with IDF forces in several locations in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and against Israel's security barrier.

Some 200 protesters clashed with IDF forces in Bil'in. There were several reports that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was escorted away from the demonstration after inhaling tear gas. Some 100 protesters gathered in Bitunia, and 200 at Prigat Junction, where some threw stones and rolled flaming tires at soldiers. In Abu-Dis, 300 Palestinians threw rocks and clashed with IDF forces.

IDF forces responded with crowd-control weapons in all four instances.

An IDF patrol vehicle near the Israel-Gaza border. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

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