10,000 Palestinians Riot on Gaza Border, but Major Violent Escalation Avoided
Several dozen Palestinians were injured in riots on Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, but it appeared a potential major escalation of violence was avoided.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said about 10,000 demonstrators massed at the border and that some threw burning tires, grenades and explosive devices at the troops across the fence.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza claimed 130 Palestinians were wounded in the disturbances.
In a tweet, the IDF said it had fired at a terror squad that had launched incendiary balloons into Israel.
No parent should have to tell their children that balloons can kill. Terrorists in #Gaza just launched arson balloons into #Israel. In response, an IDF aircraft fired towards the squad. pic.twitter.com/XDnt3NGQ4V
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) October 19, 2018
Friday’s riots, however, were relatively small in size compared to other recent ones, a sign that tensions that have built up in the past few days might be easing.
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. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed “very strong action” if such attacks, as well border unrest, continued, and some Israeli politicians called for an extensive military operation in Gaza.
A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday that Egyptian security officials had held separate meetings in the past few days with Israeli counterparts and Hamas leaders in an effort to prevent a further upsurge in violence.
Around 200 Palestinians have died in weekly riots that have taken place on the border since the end of March. During that time, terrorists have launched incendiary balloons and kites into Israel and on occasion breached the border fence. An Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper.