Three Palestinians were wounded in clashes along the Israel-Gaza border Saturday, Palestinian officials said, as the Israeli military said it was striking Hamas targets in Gaza in response to riots.
In what appears to be a renewed wave of violence on the border, Palestinians in Gaza have been holding protests along the separation fence for eight consecutive days, breaking from a period of relative calm. Youths have thrown stones and improvised explosive devices at Israeli troops, who have responded with live fire.
The Israeli military said in a statement it had struck Hamas targets "adjacent to the security border in the Gaza Strip," in response to riots and shots being fired at soldiers.
Gazans say the demonstrations are to protest issues including the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and Jewish visits to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount.
The chief of the Hamas group, which rules Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, who currently resides between Qatar and Turkey, praised actions by demonstrators and extended "a greeting of pride and gratitude to all the revolutionary youth" along the border in a televised statement Saturday.
According to the Israeli military, protesters have also launched incendiary balloons into Israeli territory, starting fires in areas near the separation fence.
On Friday, the health ministry said 31 Palestinians had been wounded during the confrontations, which came days after a protester was shot dead by Israeli troops.