IDF investigates deaths of Palestinian teens shot in Friday Gaza protests

Israel’s Military will investigate the deaths of two Palestinian teens who were shot during
The two teens were identified by the Palestinian Health Ministry as 17 year-old  Bilal Mustafa Khafaja and 16 year old Ahmad Abu Tyour from Rafah in the southern Strip.

According to official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Khafaja was shot in the chest and killed by snipers on Friday while he was taking part in the Great March of Return protests near the border fence east of Rafah, in southern Gaza Strip.

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Abu Tyour was also shot and critically injured by Israeli snipers near the border and succumbed to his wounds on Saturday.

A video released on Palestinian media showed Abu Tyour waving his hands at Israeli troops before he hurls a rock at them and waves again for several seconds.  He is then shot. 

Another 400 Palestinians were reported to have been injured by the Health Ministry, mostly after inhaling tear gas. The ministry stated that of the injured 147 were transferred to hospital, including 100 injured by live fire and 12 of them being children. The ministry also said that three paramedics and three journalists were among those injured.

Around 7,000 Palestinians were reported to have taken part in the weekly Great March of Return protests in several points along the border fence with Israel, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at troops who responded with tear gas and other crowd dispersal methods.

Balloons and kites with incendiary devices were also flown towards Israeli territory, leading to at least two fires being ignited in southern Israel. Protesters were also able to set fire to a tire, attach it to a kite, and get it to land on an antennae in Kerem Shalom, the spokesperson for the Southern Fire Fighting service stated on Friday.

Due to the violent protests IDF aircrafts struck two observations posts in the coastal enclave. According to a statement released by the army on Friday, one was struck in response to a grenade thrown towards troops along the border while the other was struck after protesters damaged military infrastructure.

The protests along the border  have been the greatest threats to Israeli security in the region since operation Protective Edge due to the combination of terror tunnels, riots, attempted infiltrations and the use of incendiary items such as kites and balloons.

Also on Sunday IDF troops arrested four Palestinians suspected of attempting to cross the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. According to a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the suspects were carrying an ax and a knife. They were transferred them to security forces for questioning.

The international community has charged that Israel has used excessive force in responding to the riots. More than 174 Palestinians have been killed and 17,500 others injured since the protests along the Gaza border began on March 30.

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