Dozens of Palestinian demonstrators arrived on Friday to the Israel-Gaza border in what was the lowest protest turnout since the start of the border protests on March 30. Even as tens of thousands of Palestinians attended morning prayers to mark the Id al-Fitr holiday, which commemorates the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, the worshipers dispersed in the afternoon and few stayed to demonstrate.
The Israeli military fired warning shots at Palestinians attempting to ignite incendiary balloons in southern Gaza, also firing at their vehicle. There were several reported wounded from tear gas inhalation near the border fence in Khan Younis.
As organizers planned to launch thousands of kites and balloon carrying flammable materials at Israel, the World Cup was being broadcast live from Russia.
Egypt's match against Uruguay took place at 3 P.M., which was followed by the match between Morocco and Iran at 6 P.M. These are teams embraced by many Muslim countries, as well as the Palestinian Authority and Gaza Strip.
- Israel Will Have to Retaliate for Gaza's Burning Kites Soon, Army Warns
- As Fires Around Gaza Become Daily Sight, Israeli Army Faces Pressure to Act Against Flaming Kites
- Tens of Thousands Participate in Id al-Fitr Prayers Along Israel-Gaza Border
Israel's military doesn't know the reason for the quiet protest Friday, and it's possible that Id al-Fitr kept more people home. But even for the holidays, there were few demonstrators in attendance.
The IDF said earlier it attacked infrastructure on Thursday near to where a terrorist cell had prepared incendiary balloons. The military said it views the use of explosive and incendiary kites and balloons seriously and will act to prevent their use.
Last week Haaretz reported that Israeli military officials believe they would no longer be able to show restraint in the face of large numbers of incendiary kites and balloons launched from inside the Gaza Strip, which have caused extensive damage to Israeli agricultural fields and forests near the border.
Israel has previously fired on Palestinians launching balloons from Gaza carrying explosive and incendiary devices. Firebombs tied to kites and balloons have caused major brushfires in fields and woods. Some have also carried explosive devices with the potential to harm civilians, troops and the firefighters called to extinguish the fires.
The organizers of the protests over the past few months along the border fence with Israel have called to hold a mass prayer service for the holiday on Friday morning in the encampments along the border.