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Sunday 16 December 2018

Two Palestinians killed as violence erupts amid Gaza ceasefire

Gaza militants fired some 200 rockets at Israel and the Israeli military carried out a similar number of airstrikes in Gaza this week.

Palestinian protesters escape from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (Khalil Hamra/AP)
Palestinian protesters escape from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (Khalil Hamra/AP)

By Ian Deitch and Fares Akram, Associated Press

Violence erupted at the Gaza border on Friday after the territory’s militant Islamic Hamas rulers and Israel appeared to be honouring a ceasefire that ended two days of intense violence.

Israel’s military said no rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel overnight and it conducted no airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas targets.

Israel’s government has not confirmed the truce.

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Protesters escape from teargas fired by Israeli troops (Khalil Hamra/AP)

But on Friday evening two Palestinians, including a paramedic, were shot and killed by Israeli fire at a Hamas-led protest along the border, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

They said Abdullah al-Qutati, 26, was shot and killed and 70 others were wounded by live fire.

A 55-year-old Palestinian was also killed, they said.

Another paramedic, Mohammed Suhwail, told The Associated Press he witnessed the shooting.

He said after treating wounded al-Qutati ” began walking toward the (field hospital) but was shot in the back and the bullet exited from his chest”.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the deaths.

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A Palestinian protester wears a plastic bag on his head as a protection from teargas (Khalil Hamra/AP)

The military said a tank fired shells at a Hamas position after Palestinians threw explosive devices and a grenade at forces stationed near the border.

It was not immediately clear whether the Hamas protests at the border were included in ceasefire negotiations.

Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV channel reported late Thursday that the Egyptian-brokered deal took hold “on the basis of mutual calm”.

It was at least the third such truce in recent weeks.

But the deal did not seem to address the deeper issues that have prevented the bitter enemies from reaching a longer ceasefire arrangement.

Gaza militants fired some 200 rockets at Israel and the Israeli military carried out a similar number of airstrikes in Gaza in the latest round of violence this week.

Also on Friday, the Israeli military lifted restrictive recommendations for residents of some areas in southern Israel that it had set amid the Palestinian bombing, including suggestions to avoid open areas and beaches.

“Following a security assessment,” residents can resume their daily routine, the military said.

Press Association

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