Three Palestinians Said Killed by Live Israeli Fire During Gaza-border Protest

One of the demonstrators killed has been identified as a 12-year-old boy ■ 20,000 are protesting at Gaza border, IDF says ■ Israel strikes in Strip twice in retaliation for attacks on troops

Palestinian protesters react as tear gas canisters rain down fired by Israeli forces during clashes east of Gaza city, along the Gaza-Israel border in the Gaza Strip, October 5, 2018.
AFP

Three Palestinians, one of them a teenage boy, were killed by live Israeli fire during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border attended by thousands, Gaza authorities said Friday evening. 

The three dead have been identified by Gaza's Health Ministry as 12-year-old Faras Assarsawei, 24-year-old Mahmud Abu Sma'an and 28-year-old Hussein Fathi Arkab.

The Israeli military said that 20,000 Palestinians are protesting at the border.

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126 Palestinians have been wounded by live fire at the protest and a total of 376 people were injured, Gaza's Health Ministry said; 192 have been evaucated to hospitals in the Strip, and seven are in serious condition. 

According to the Israeli army, protesters are hurling hand grenades and explosive devices toward troops. Protesters have also set tires on fire, the army added in a statement, and rolled them toward soldiers.

The Israel Defense Forces troops at the scene are using riot dispersal means to send away demonstrators, the army added, noting that it was following closely its open-fire policy. 

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The IDF struck twice in northern Gaza on Friday afternoon in response to attacks by Palestinian protesters who targeted troops with rocks, hand grenades and explosives, the army said. 

Meanwhile, ten Palestinians were identified attempting to cross the border fence into Israeli territory. They hurled grenades near the border fence and crossed back into the Strip.

Also Friday, Israeli firefighting forces were dispatched to Gaza-border communities to put out seven fires that were caused by firebombs launched at Israeli territory from the Strip.  

The Israeli military announced Thursday that it was going to bolster its troops along the Gaza border in the coming days over concerns that the protests will escalate.

Among the forces dispersed along the border fence are snipers and ground forces who have been positioned in the area in order to prevent attempts by Palestinians to infiltrate Israeli territory. 

The Israeli army is also preparing for the option that rockets will be fired on Gaza-border communities in the coming days, which could lead to a wider confrontation. Iron Dome missile defense batteries have been deployed in several areas to ward off the threat.