More than 100 Palestinians were reported wounded in violent clashes on Friday afternoon as thousands of demonstrators protested close to the fence, burning tires and throwing rocks at Israeli military positions along the Gaza border. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a sniper on the border.
Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement MP, Mustafa Barghouti, warned of serious intentions to launch a devastating aggression on the Gaza Strip, by Israeli forces. The commencement of a possible military incursion into Gaza has not been decided yet, but Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has repeatedly proposed authorizing large-scale military action in the Palestinian territory to put an end to border violence.
On its official website, the Brigades posted a brief video showing a Brigades fighter preparing to fire a salvo of rockets into Israeli territory.
In addition, 69 of those injured, 14 of whom were children, suffered permanent disability, according to the latest statistics by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Tensions have been running high near the border fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed "The Great March of Return".
Mladenov, who is working with Egypt in negotiations to try and stabilize the situation in Gaza and facilitate reconciliation among the Palestinian factions, said that the arrangements that have maintained a certain calm in recent years are breaking down under growing pressure. During the 51-day assault, over 2,100 Palestinians were killed, with another 10,000 injured.More news: UK Prime Minister Reassures Business Leaders Over Brexit
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In a tweet, the IDF said it had fired at a terror squad that had launched incendiary balloons into Israel.
Following the targeting of the southern Israeli city on Wednesday, Lieberman ordered the closure of two Gaza border checkpoints and enforcement of a stricter three-nautical-mile limit for Palestinian fishing boats. Israel responded by cutting off Qatari-funded fuel shipments meant to ease a chronic electricity shortage.
Since March, Palestinians have marched to the border fence every Friday and occasionally breached it.
On Wednesday, a separate Egyptian delegation departed Gaza via the Erez crossing after arriving in the enclave on Tuesday for talks with Hamas officials. "Israel has repeatedly used lethal force unnecessarily and excessively against unarmed protesters in shameless violation of global law", said Saleh Higazi.
Palestinians have been protesting along the border since March 30, demanding an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza and the right to return to lands that Palestinians fled or were driven from upon Israel's founding in 1948.