Gaza officials: 86 hurt by Israeli fire in border protest

Hannah Rogers
May 28, 2018

Israeli military tanks shelled the Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing at least two Palestinians.

There have been no Israeli casualties along the Gaza frontier, but Israel has reported extensive damage to farmland on its side of the border from firebomb-bearing kites flown over by Palestinians.

The men, aged 25 and 28, were killed near the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, an official from the Health Ministry said, as cited by Arabic language media and AFP.

"The explosive device went off during the clearing procedure".

Only hours before late Saturday night, Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike in southern Gaza after four Palestinians infiltrated into Israel earlier in the day.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not "tolerate attacks against us from the Gaza Strip". "This was neutralized in the morning by the Israeli Defence Forces", a military statement said.

Israel already maintains a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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The Gaza Strip will set off a flotilla of ships on Tuesday in a bid to break the 12-year-long Israeli blockade on the Palestinian territory.

Tuesday's Gaza flotilla will coincide with the 8th anniversary of an Israeli attack on the Turkish "Mavi Marmara" flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists were killed when the Israeli navy attacked the vessel in global waters.

It said troops responded with tear gas and live fire.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas since the Islamist militant group took control of Gaza in 2007 following Palestinian elections.

The Defense Ministry has started construction on an underwater barrier, which will stretch from the southern Israeli community of Zikim out into the Mediterranean to stave off Hamas infiltration by sea.

The water barricade will join its overland "brother" that has been under construction around the coastal enclave since 2016 - a 60-kilometer wall meant to stop Hamas from tunneling under the border into Israel, as it has tried doing numerous times over recent years.

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