Five Palestinian youth were injured during clashes with Israeli forces, near the border of the central and northern Gaza Strip, on Friday, according to Palestinian sources.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement that two youth were injured in the legs with live ammunition, during clashes in central Gaza, and were reported to be in moderate condition.
Al-Qidra added that three other youth were lightly injured after they were hit with tear gas canisters in the northern Gaza Strip.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an News Agency that “dozens of Palestinians participated in violent riots” in Gaza, where they threw rocks and rolled burning tires at the border fence with Israel.
“In response to this direct threat, Israeli forces fired towards the main instigators,” the spokesperson said, adding that they were aware of one Palestinian injury, and that it was being investigated.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in Gaza regularly occur on Fridays near the highly militarized fence along Gaza’s border with Israel.
The clashes often turn violent with Israeli forces firing tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition on Palestinians who throw rocks, and, according to the Israeli army, regularly roll burning tires towards the fence.
The United Nations and numerous human rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians during clashes, in incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
At least four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year during clashes near the border fence in Gaza, including a 16-year-old Palestinian who was killed in July.
The nearly nine-year Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s some 2 million Palestinians into poverty. The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years and slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.
Also in the region, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians who crossed the border fence from the southern Gaza Strip into Israel on Saturday morning.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that two Palestinian youth from the Gaza Strip were detained after “infiltrating” into Israel.
The two, who remained unidentified, were transferred to the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, for interrogation.
Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinians attempting to cross into Israel from the besieged Gaza Strip, which has suffered under a decade-long military blockade by Israel and Egypt.