GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers shot and injured 130 Palestinians during protests near the Gaza border on Friday, the enclave's health ministry said.
Palestinian demonstrators gather at the Israel-Gaza border fence during a protest calling for the lifting of the Gaza Strip's Israeli blockade and demanding the right to return to their homeland on 1
But the protest was relatively low – some of the previous gatherings included about 30,000 people, a sign that the tensions that have built up in recent days are easing.
On Thursday, Israel launched tank troops along the Gaza border, the day after an enclave rocket destroyed a house in southern Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "very strong measures" should the attacks continue.
A Palestinian official speaking on the condition of anonymity said Egyptian security officials had held separate meetings with Israeli colleagues and with leaders of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group in recent days to escalate in Gaza to prevent violence.
Palestinians have been protesting at the border since March 30, calling for an end to the Israeli blockade of territory and the right to return to areas where Palestinians were fled or expelled when Israel was founded in 1948.
About 200 Gazans According to the Palestinian health ministers, Israeli troops have been killed since the protests began and an Israeli soldier killed by a Palestinian sniper.
Palestinians have also detonated fire bombs and dragons from Gaza to Israel, breaking through the Israeli border fence.
More than 2 million Palestinians have been forced into the narrow enclave on the coast. Israel pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, but keeps its land and sea borders strictly under control. Egypt also restricts entry and exit on the border with Gaza. Israel and Hamas have waged three wars over the last decade.
Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Letter from Maayan Lubell; Edited by Mark Heinrich