Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza: medics

Israeli forces stand next to a tank as armoured vehicles gather in an open area near the border with the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday

Israeli forces stand next to a tank as armoured vehicles gather in an open area near the border with the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday

Kites and balloons equipped with incendiary devices were launched across the border into southern Israel, and the Israeli army said one of its aircraft targeted a group of men launching balloons.

On Thursday, Israel had ramped up armored forces along the Gaza border, a day after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave destroyed a home in Beersheba. "I said at the beginning of this week's cabinet meeting that if these attacks do not stop, we will stop them".

Mladenov also urged the Palestinian Authority not to "abandon" Gaza because "giving up on Gaza will have dire consequences for the Palestinian cause".

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 115 people were injured, many by live ammunition.

Until such a military action is approved, Tel Aviv is sticking to less coercive methods to convince Hamas to quell the violence. Earlier, Israel halted Qatari fuel shipments to Gaza's power plant.

A senior leader of the Islamic Jihad group and one of the main organisers of the protests called on protesters to act in a non-violent manner. Protesters have assembled along the fence every Friday ever-since, demanding the right of return for those driven out of their homeland at the hands of the Zionist regime.

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At least 130 people were hit by Israeli gunfire on Friday as thousands of Palestinians protested near Gaza's border with Israel, the health ministry in the enclave said.

Since protests began in March, at least 217 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The previous large-scale IDF operation in Gaza was mounted in 2014 after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by alleged members of Hamas' military wing. Earlier today, Amnesty published a statement warning of the proclaimed Israeli "zero tolerance" policy against the border demonstration, fearing that it may "lead to more Palestinian deaths".

The Cuban ambassador also condemned the illegal construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory and the demolition or seizure of Palestinian institutions.

Friday's demonstration follows increased rhetoric between Hamas and Israel. One Israeli soldier has died.

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