(JTA) — Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian men during riots in the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel.
The first fatality, identified in Palestinian media reports as Yihiah Farakhat, 20, was shot in the head in the north of the Gaza Strip near the Erz Crossing, the Maan news agency reported Friday. Separately, 18-year-old Mahmoud Lamidah was killed in confrontations near the Gaza neighborhood of Sajaiya.
A spokesperson from the Israel Defende Forces said that hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the border fence and breached the buffer zone, throwing rocks and burning tires. “The threat of infiltration was posing a direct threat to communities nearby,” the spokesperson was quoted by Maan as saying, with Israeli forces using riot dispersal means and firing at “main instigators.”
She said the army was aware of reported injuries to Palestinians.
At least 98 Palestinians were wounded during the demonstrations, according to Maan.
Clashes also broke out east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, with Israeli forces firing tear gas at demonstrators, who set fire to tires.
Demonstrations were reported near the Erez and Nahal Oz crossings in the northern Gaza Strip, as thousands of Palestinians marched following the declaration of a “day of rage” against Israel by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.
Protests set off from different mosques following Friday prayers, calling for an escalation against Israel.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas official, called upon all factions to take part in the “intifada against Israel.”
The leader of Islamic Jihad, Khalid al-Batsh, said the movement would remain “ready to strike the enemy.”