BFF-43 Gaza protest toll rises to three: ministry

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Gaza protest toll rises to three: ministry

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories, Aug 11, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A 40-year-old
Palestinian hit by Israeli fire on the Gaza border died of his wounds on
Saturday, taking the death toll from protests the previous day to three, the
territory’s health ministry said.

He was among at least 131 Palestinians wounded by Israeli bullets during
Friday’s protests, even as an informal truce ending a deadly flare-up between
Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas and the Israeli army largely held.

The health ministry identified the man as Ahmed Abu Lulu and said he was
shot in a section of the border east of the southern city of Rafah, where the
two other Palestinians were also killed.

The ministry had earlier identified the other two as Ali al-Alul, 55, and
volunteer medic Abdullah al-Qatati, 21.

Funerals for the three dead Palestinians took place on Saturday, attended
by thousands of people.

Doctors and first responders were among the attendees, in a show of
solidarity for Qatati.

On Friday, a few thousand protesters had gathered at various locations
along the border, setting tyres ablaze and throwing stones, but in smaller
numbers than in previous weeks, AFP correspondents said.

The Israeli army said a grenade was thrown at troops guarding the border
with northern Gaza, without causing any casualties, and that troops responded
with tank fire against two Hamas posts.

But the border was otherwise calm after a reported deal to end all rocket
fire into Israel and air strikes on the Gaza Strip appeared to take effect
around midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday.

There was no official confirmation of the truce from Israel or Gaza’s
Islamist rulers Hamas but there were no fresh air strikes on Friday.

Thursday had seen extensive Israeli raids in retaliation for the launching
of more than 180 rockets and mortar rounds by Hamas and its allies on
Wednesday night.

It was one of the most serious escalations since the 2014 Gaza war and
followed months of rising tensions.

Three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes, including a
pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter. Seven Israelis were wounded by
Palestinian rocket fire.

The European Union said Gaza and Israel were “dangerously close” to a new
conflict and called for urgent efforts to protect civilians.

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

Over the same period, one Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a
Palestinian sniper.

BSS/AFP/ARS/1945 hrs