Four Wounded in New Round of Clashes With Israel Near Gaza Border, Palestinians Claim

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Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces on December 11, 2017 near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces on December 11, 2017 near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza CityCredit: AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED

Violent clashes broke out Tuesday for the sixth consecutive day, with Palestinians reporting four being wounded in clashes along the border with Gaza. According to medical sources, one person was seriously wounded after being shot in the head.

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On Monday, clashes were reported in several locations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as Palestinians continued to protest against U.S. President Donald’s Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

West Bank, Gaza Palestinians protest over Trump's Jerusalem declarationCredit: Haaretz/Reuters

Palestinian factions called for the ramping up of protests on Tuesday across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 36 Palestinians were injured in the West Bank, some shot by live fire and rubber-tipped bullets. The confrontations were focused in Hebron, Ramallah, Jericho and Tulkarm. Four people were reportedly injured in Ramallah by live fire, one in Hebron and one in Tulkarm. All the injuries were described as mild or moderate.

Meanwhile, tensions along Israel's border with Gaza Strip flared up Monday, capping a week of rocket fire at Israel by terror groups and responses from the army. The Israeli military said it struck Hamas positions in the northern strip overnight in retaliation for a rocket fired at the southern city of Ashkelon, which Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system shot down.

Rocket sirens sounded in southern Israeli communities near the border with the Gaza Strip and residents in the southern Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod reported hearing explosions.

In a similar incident earlier Monday evening, Israel struck Hamas outposts in southern Gaza in retaliation for a rocket fired from the Strip. No injuries were immediately reported and the siren that warns of incoming rockets did not sound. A local regional council said that the sirens did not go off because there was no threat to residents.

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Following Israel's retaliation, Palestinian media in Gaza reported Israeli tank fire at two Hamas positions, one in Khan Yunis and one in Rafah, both located in the southern part of the enclave.

On Monday, in Gaza, 37 people were evacuated to hospitals with injuries from live fire or rubber-tipped bullets, while another 60 were treated on the ground by Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics.

Observers expected the protest around the Gazan-Israeli border fence to last several days with the encouragement of Hamas, but they will not be allowed to get out of hand. A senior Hamas official told Haaretz that the organization does not want to instigate a military confrontation but rather to maintain the “popular struggle.”

“It’s the reason that there is no rocket fire, and they don’t want to give Israel a reason to open a destructive military campaign,” he said. “The trend is to continue the popular struggle and to send the protest message to the world.”

For Tuesday, Fatah called for marches that departed from major city centers, including Ramallah, toward Israeli military checkpoints and other confrontation sites. On campuses, student unions are planning to participate in protests. West Bank universities announced that studies would stop at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday for a protest march against Trump’s Jerusalem announcement. Another call went on in Gaza to hold a march in the direction of the border fence.

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