Ninety-seven Palestinians were wounded during altercations with the Israeli military along the border between Israel and Gaza, the Strip's Health Ministry reported Friday. Forty-nine of those wounded were hit by live fire. Among the wounded are four paramedics and two journalists.
Last week, 55 Palestinians were wounded in clashes along the border fence; 33 of the protesters were hit by live fire. The protest escalated when two rockets were fired from the coastal enclave toward Israeli Gaza-border communities.
Israel didn't respond to the rocket fire in an attempt to prevent another escalation. The rockets landed in open areas near Israeli communities, causing no damage. Israel's political echelon decided to avoid a strike on Gaza, forgoing the usual policy of immediate response to any rocket launch.
The rockets were launched after a Hamas activist, Mahmoud al-Adham, was shot dead by Israeli troops along the border last Thursday. The Israeli army made a rare statement in which it called the Palestinian's death a "misunderstanding," explaining that he was misidentified as a terrorist while he was trying to turn away Palestinian protesters from the border. Hamas leaders said that they would retaliate, and clarified in talks with Egyptian and UN mediators who arrived in the Strip following the incident that they will not let this pass without a response. Israel, however, clarified that it would not accept an aggressive response.
Two weeks ago, the weekly March of Return protests also reached the West Bank. A 10-year-old Palestinian boy was critically wounded during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Palestinian media reported that the boy, Abdul-Rahman Yasser Shtewi, was hit in the head by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli forces during a weekly protest against the West Bank separation barrier. However, the Palestinian Health Ministry later said he was hit by live fire.
The Palestinian Red Crescent took the boy to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where he was immediately operated on.
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The army claimed no live fire was used, but confirmed riot control gear was deployed against the protesters, who numbered about 60.