Israel launches air strikes in Gaza after violent protests along border

Israeli military bombed alleged Palestinian militant weapons sites after police officer was injured in demonstration

Palestinians protest near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. More than 40 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were injured during clashes. EPA
Powered by automated translation

Israeli military jets bombed alleged weapons sites in the Gaza Strip early on Sunday.

The Israeli armed forces said this was in response to a violent demonstration on the border that left dozens of Palestinians and an Israeli police officer injured.

Saturday's violence erupted after hundreds of Palestinians took part in a demonstration organised by Gaza’s Hamas rulers to draw attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory.

The protest grew violent after dozens of people approached the fortified border fence and threw rocks and explosives towards Israeli soldiers from behind a smoke screen created by burning tyres.

At least 22 children were among 41 Palestinians wounded in the clashes, including a boy of 13 who was critically wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

An Israeli Border Police officer was shot and critically injured.

The Israeli army said that in response, fighter planes hit “four weapons and storage manufacturing sites” belonging to Hamas, and that the military sent additional troops to the region near the border with the Palestinian enclave.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the air strikes.

Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies that have fought four wars and countless skirmishes since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election.

May's most recent round of fighting, an 11-day war that ended in a ceasefire, killed 260 people in Gaza, including 67 children and 39 women, according to the Gaza health ministry. Hamas has acknowledged the deaths of 80 militants.

Twelve civilians, including two children, were killed in Israel, along with one soldier.

The border violence recalls the “March of Return” rallies in which 214 Gazans were killed, according to UN data, and more than 8,000 others suffered gunshot wounds.

Updated: August 22, 2021, 11:20 AM