Israel Kills Two Palestinians, Wounds Hundreds at Gaza Protest

Israel Kills Two Palestinians, Wounds Hundreds at Gaza Protest

An Egyptian-brokered truce ended a two-day wave of rocket barrages and air strikes between Israel and Gaza, but the border remained tense as thousands of Gazans gathered for protests in which two Palestinians were killed and scores wounded.

Abdullah al-Qattati, who was in his 20s, was shot in the chest near Rafah in southern Gaza while treating the wounded and 55-year-old Ali al-Alloul was also killed in the same area, said health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidreh.

The European Union on Friday said "the death of the pregnant Palestinian mother and her child in this latest escalation is a tragic loss".

One Israeli soldier has been killed during the same time period.

A wounded Palestinian girl is brought into al-Shifa hospital on August 9, 2018, following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City.

Hamas said a ceasefire had been reached "on the basis of mutual calm", and had gone into effect at midnight on Thursday.

There was no official confirmation of the truce from Israel or Hamas, but there were no fresh air strikes on Friday.

The protests along the border dubbed have been the greatest threats to Israeli security in the region since operation Protective Edge due to the combination of terror tunnels, riots, attempted infiltrations and the use of incendiary items.

At least 168 Palestinians have been killed since the border protests began on March 30, with most succumbing to Israeli fire during demonstrations.

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Extensive air strikes were launched at Gaza on Thursday in retaliation for more than 180 rockets and mortar rounds fired by Hamas and its allies on Wednesday night.

Israel and Hamas have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks after four months of violence along Gaza's border following Hamas-organized protests there.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

In Gaza, crowds of Palestinians resumed protests against Israel.

They are calling for an end to the decade-long Israeli blockade of Gaza and the return of Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes inside Israel, which they fled or were expelled from during the war surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.

The military said Palestinians hurled "explosive devices and firebombs" and in one instance a grenade at Israeli soldiers Friday.

On Tuesday IDF troops killed two Hamas snipers after the military thought troops came under fire near Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Now the protests occur mostly on Fridays, though pro-Palestinian activists have sought to find new ways to draw attention to Israeli oppression and abuses, such as flotillas of activists attempting to break the naval blockade.

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