Israeli Soldier Critically Wounded by Live Fire in Gaza Clashes

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21-year-old Staff Sgt. Barel Haredia Shmueli who was critically wounded during the violent clashes on Saturday.
21-year-old Staff Sgt. Barel Haredia Shmueli who was critically wounded during the violent clashes on Saturday. Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson's Unit

An Israeli soldier was critically wounded by live gunfire as clashes along the Gaza border turned violent on Saturday.

Border Police officer Bar’el Hadaria Shmueli, 21, was hit through a slit in the border fence and was evacuated by helicopter to the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheba. Shmueli sustained a severe head injury and underwent surgery, according to the hospital's deputy director.

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The spokesperson for Soroka Medical Center said that Shmueli’s condition remains serious. Following his surgery on Saturday, he was moved to an intensive care unit where he is breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Footage of the incident shows Palestinian protesters approaching the border fence, throwing rocks at the officer, with one of them shooting through the slit.

Gazans head toward the border with Israel early Saturday afternoon. Credit: Jack Khoury

Israeli fighter jets later struck Hamas positions in Gaza, targeting four weapons storage and manufacturing sites belonging to Hamas. The military also bolstered forces along the Gaza border

According to Palestinian media reports, sounds of explosions were heard near a power station, in a compound near the Nusirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip and west of Khan Yunis

Forty-one Gazans were wounded in Saturday's clashes when hundreds of Gazan youth have flocked to the border. A 13-year-old boy sustained severe injuries and is in critical condition. 

Most of those injured were shot by live gunfire aimed at their legs, the director of Gaza's Shifa Hospital Dr. Mohamad Salima said. 

Protesters hurled explosives and rocks, and troops responded with crowd dispersal means, including live fire. Protesters unsuccessfully attempted to steal a soldier's weapon, the military said.     

Palestinian factions in Gaza said Sunday that they will continue protests along the border fence. "Israel must take responsibility for the delayed reconstruction of Gaza and the blockade." 

The protest is set to continue according to guidelines set by the factions themselves and Israeli aggression will not deter Palestinians from continuing their fight, said Palestinian representatives.

The protests come two days after an agreement had been reached between Qatar and the United Nations on transferring stalled Qatari aid money for poor families in the Gaza Strip, following a four-month delay that risked reigniting tensions in the region.

According to the Qatari statement, about 100,000 Palestinian families in Gaza will receive $100 in cash each month, starting in early September.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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