Despite Israel-Hamas Understandings, 49 Palestinians Said Wounded in Border Protests

Gaza authorities say eight of the wounded are paramedics and one a journalist ■ Earlier Friday, Hamas and an Israeli official confirmed report that Hamas and Israel had reached an agreement for an extended calm at the border

A Palestinian protester waves the national flag during a demonstration along the fence east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza strip, June 26, 2019.
AFP

Forty-nine Palestinians were wounded during protests along the Israel-Gaza border on Friday, 19 of those by live fire, the Gaza Health Ministry reported. According to the ministry, eight of the wounded were volunteer paramedics and one was a journalist.

Earlier Friday, Hamas and an Israeli defense official confirmed reports that Israel and Hamas had reached an understanding on an extended calm along the border.

The Israeli official told Haaretz that Israel would allow the delivery of fuel and expand the fishing zone in Gaza, in exchange for "Hamas halting violence." The source added that "sanctions will be reimposed if Hamas fails to honor the agreement."

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According to the initial report in the Palestinian Sawa news agency, the agreements brokered by United Nations and Egyptian mediators include the renewal of fuel supply to the Gaza Strip, halted by Israel earlier this week. 

Hamas meanwhile said that Ismail Haniyeh, head of the group's political bureau, had spoken with UN Mideast special envoy Nickolay Mladenov regarding the new understandings.

The report also states that Israel would extend the zone allowed for fishing around the Gaza Strip to 15 nautical miles, up from the current 10, and return dozens of fishing boats it confiscated. 

Hamas, for its part, would commit to prevent the launch of airborne firebombs into Israeli territory and ensure protesters who take part in this week's Friday protest along the border maintain a nonviolent demonstration. Israel, according to the report, said it wouldn't use live fire against protesters.

Also Friday, 14 fires broke out along Israel's border communities as a result of incendiary balloons launched from Gaza. One of the incendiary balloons was found in a field, as well as a batch of a balloons with a Hebrew-language erotic novel attached to it that was rigged with explosives. Security forces defused the charge.