Blaze Starts in Israeli Greenhouse Near Gaza After Palestinian Breaches Border Fence

Israeli army claims the man set fire to a greenhouse when troops tried to arrest him after initially believing that the fire was set on accident by Israeli troops

The fire at a greenhouse near the Gaza border, October 9, 2018.

A Palestinian man breached the border fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip on Friday, reaching one of the Israeli communities in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council before being apprehended by Israeli security forces. 

According to the Israeli army, troops identified a suspect who crossed the border along the northern Strip. The suspect, who was not carrying any weapons, was taken for questioning. 

The army said that during the incident the suspect set fire to a greenhouse in the area. The Israeli military announced earlier that its troops had accidently caused the blaze after firing a flare during the arrest.

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The Gaza Health Ministry said that a young Palestinian was injured by army fire during a protest on Friday east of Rafah. According to a Palestinian report, 143 Palestinians were injured in clashes, 34 were injured by army fire and 34 were injured by rubber bullets.

Also on Friday, Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said that Hamas has not formed any deal with Israel or reached any agreements, at a rally near the border.

The fire at a greenhouse near the Gaza border, October 9, 2018.

Sinwar added that while there was no emerging deal with Israel at the moment, Hamas is establishing "understandings" with Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations "in order to lift the blockade [on Gaza]." 

While Sinwar spoke, protests along the border between Israel and the coastal enclave took place as they have every weekend for months. 

A 28-year-old Palestinian, identified as Rami Khaman, succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead on Friday evening after being shot while protesting east of Rafah. Thirty-five Palestinians were also wounded by live Israeli fire during the protests, the Red Cresecent Movement reported Friday evening. 

Overall, 144 people were injured, 27 of whom were hit by rubber-tipped bullets. Forty people were evacuated to hospitals to receive medical care.