A 25-year-old Palestinian was killed and 220 were wounded during clashes on the Gaza border on Friday, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, as talks on an Israel-Hamas deal on Gaza's future are said to be nearing a potential breakthrough.
Fifty of the wounded Palestinian protesters were taken to nearby hospitals, while the rest were treated at the scene of the protests. 90 of the casualties were the result of live Israeli military fire, according to Palestinian officials.
The number of casualties, however, is notably smaller in comparison to previous weeks amid the backdrop of ongoing negotiations on Gaza's future currently underway in Cairo. The deal currently being discussed would see the end of protests along the Gaza-Israel fence and of incendiary kites and balloons in exchange for the opening of two crossing points, Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported Friday.
Meanwhile, at least 26 fires caused by airborne firebombs broke out in Israeli territory, though all are now under control. An IDF tank fired at a Hamas position in response to the fires.
In a separate incident, Israeli forces reportedly opened fire at several Palestinians who approached the border, though none were wounded.
- Gaza talks: 'Hamas will end burning kites, protests on Israel border in exchange for open crossings'
- Israel advances Gaza water project amid reports on progress in Hamas talks
- Israeli defense minister stands by decision to close Gaza border crossing: Israel 'not going to play'
According to the IDF, 8,000 Palestinians attended Friday's protest, held in honor of Mohammed Tarek Dar Yusuf. Yusuf, a 17-year-old resident of Khobar, a West Bank town near Ramallah, murdered Yotam Ovadia and stabbed three others in an attack in the West Bank settlement of Geva Binyamin, also known as Adam, last week.
The organizers of the march called for mass participation, in order to “send a message to the Palestinians not to surrender to the terrorist dictates of Israel until the blockade is lifted.”
Meanwhile, activists in Gaza said a boat was approaching the Strip in an attempt to break the naval blockade on the coastal enclave. Last Sunday, the Israel Navy stopped a boat from Europe that was carrying medication for people in Gaza.
Israel has blockaded the Strip for more than 10 years, with Egypt's aid. The measures are necessary for national security reasons, argues Israel, as Gaza is ruled by the Islamist militant Hamas organization.