Palestinian boy shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes on Gaza border dies

A 12-year-old Palestinian boy shot last week by Israeli soldiers during clashes along the border with Gaza has died of his injuries, the territory’s health ministry said on Saturday.

Omar Hassan Abu al-Nile was hit last Saturday on the sidelines of a demonstration near the border fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said. He “succumbed to his injuries”, Gaza’s health ministry said in a statement. About 100 mourners attended his funeral in the afternoon.

The 21 August unrest left about 40 people wounded, according to Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including a 32-year-old Palestinian man who died on Wednesday. An Israeli police officer was also shot, and remains in a critical condition.

The Israeli army said it had responded with live fire and other measures to Palestinian “rioters” who were hurling explosives over the border fence and attempting to scale it.

After the clashes, Israel carried out airstrikes it said were targeting weapons manufacturing and storage sites belonging to Hamas.

Israel struck Gaza again overnight Monday to Tuesday in response to incendiary balloons that sparked multiple fires in Israel’s southern Eskhol region. There were no reported casualties from the strikes.

Clashes also took place on the border between Gaza and Israel on Wednesday, but they were less violent than those on Saturday.

New protests erupted on Saturday evening, with the Israeli army firing teargas and stun grenades as Palestinians burned tyres, an AFP reporter said.

Several factions in Gaza had called for the demonstrations to protest in particular against Israel’s almost 15-year-long blockade of the coastal enclave.

Also Saturday, Israeli firefighters worked to put out fires sparked by a new launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza. Two wildfires broke out in the Eshkol region near the Palestinian enclave, firefighters said in a statement.

Hamas and Israel fought a devastating 11-day conflict in May, the worst between the two sides in years, which ended with an informal truce. Hamas authorities said 260 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes during the conflict, including fighters. Palestinian groups launched thousands of rockets at Israel during the fighting, killing 13 people, including a soldier, according to the military and police.

In 2018, Gazans began a protest movement demanding an end to Israel’s blockade and the right for Palestinians to return to lands they fled or were expelled from when the Jewish state was founded. The Hamas-backed weekly demonstrations, often violent, sputtered as Israel killed approximately 350 Palestinians in Gaza over more than a year.

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