Israeli Army Says It Arrested Four Armed Gazans Who Breached Border

Gaza Health Ministry reports 54 wounded by Israeli fire in demonstrations along border fence, including a journalist and a medic

A Palestinian man runs for cover during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces across east of Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip, August 23, 2019.

The Israeli military said it arrested four Gazans who entered Israeli territory near the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, as thousands protested in several locations along the border fence.

According to the statement, the four Palestinians were in possession of a knife and hand grenade. They were transferred for questioning after their arrest.

54 people were wounded by Israeli fire in the border demonstrations, 30 of them by live ammunition, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The statement added that one of the wounded is a medic, and another is a journalist. 

>> Hamas takes extraordinary step to quell Gaza's 'angry youth' | Analysis

In past weeks, there have been several attempts by armed Gazans, previously associated with Hamas or Islamic Jihad, to cross the border fence and target Israeli soldiers

There have been six incidents of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel in the past two week, followed by Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets. On Monday, Israel decided to cut oil imports intended for Gaza's power station by a half. The reduced imports will continue until further notice, and will have a significant impact on electricity in the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday night, three Hamas policemen were killed in two explosions that occurred at police checkpoints in Gaza. It was later revealed that the incidents were suicide attacks initiated by local activists, presumably belonging to a Salafi group. 

In response, Hamas’ internal security organization has embarked on a series of arrests of Salafi activists, whether on suspicion of involvement in these attacks or to deter other activists from additional moves against Israel.