Middle East

Clashes at Gaza-Israel border, Israel launches airstrikes (VIDEO)

11:51, 22 August 2021
Clashes at Gaza-Israel border, Israel launches airstrikes (VIDEO)

A Palestinian child was critically injured as well as an Israeli soldier who was shot at point-blank range.

Clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli military forces broke out on Saturday.

The Gaza Health Ministry has announced that 41 people were injured, including a 13-year-old boy who was hit in the head and remains in critical condition.

Israel reports that one of the country’s soldiers, identified as Barel Hadaria Shmueli, 21, was shot at point-blank range, the med crew of Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center is trying to save him.

Footage of the incident has been uploaded to the net. A Palestinian approached the soldier’s shooting position in the border wall and fired several times from a pistol. Before that, other protesters threw rocks and tried to hit the sniper.

The protests were held on the anniversary of the burning of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque 52 years ago, the third Holy Place of Islam. According to local Media, Hamas had initially planned to hold a rally a km (0.6 miles) away from the border but eventually lost control of the crowd. Many of those who had gathered were children, Hamas has dubbed them “heroic youth”.

Israel has called the protests “riots” and stated that some of the participants threw explosives in the wall and tried to climb the fence. The country’s military representatives said that they responded with necessary means, including opening fire and using tear gas. They have also sent more troops to the scene.

Hamas denounced Israel’s measure calling them excessive force against unarmed civilians. The organization has also promised not to give up the protests.

Gaza announced the event on Wednesday, Israel regards it as a means of pressure on the country. It is also the first action that took place near the border since 2019 when several hundred Palestinians were killed.

Later that night Israel has made several air raids and announced in a communiqué that it had hit four gun-producing and storing sites. No casualties were reported.

The clashes come after the region’s crisis in May. Hamas accused Israel of raiding the Al-Aqsa Mosque several times including on the night of Ramadan. More than 250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. The conflict was declared terminated on May 21 when the parties agreed on a ceasefire. An estimated of $290 mln of damage was done to the Gaza strip by Israel’s airstrikes.

However, on Monday Israel reported intercepting a rocket fired from Gaza.