Israel kills Palestinian teen during Gaza protest
Israeli troops have shot and killed a Palestinian teenager near the fence with the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza health ministry.
Muntaser Mohammed al-Baz, 17, was shot in the head during protests near Bureij in central Gaza on Tuesday and died of his wounds in hospital, the ministry said in a statement.
It said another five Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition fired by the Israeli army.
The Israeli military said 200 protesters burned tires and threw explosive devices toward the fence. It said Israeli troops opened fire at one protester who approached the fence and lobbed an explosive device.
"Troops responded with riot dispersal means and gunfire according to the rules of engagement," said an Israeli army spokesperson, adding that no Israeli soldiers were injured.
Near-daily demonstrations have been staged along the Gaza fence since 30 March in protest of Israel's crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished enclave.
The Israeli military has responded with increasingly aggressive tactics, often firing live ammunition at the protesters.
More than 200 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since the protests began.
Last week, a rocket from the Palestinian territory hit a home in southern Israel, prompting Israel to strike 20 Hamas targets in Gaza.
Another rocket fell in the Mediterranean off Tel Aviv, without causing casualties or damage.
Hamas disavowed the rocket launches and said it was investigating the incidents.
Leaders in Israel’s government have been pushing for tougher action on Gaza. The country’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, recently said the country does not “have a choice” but to respond more aggressively.
“Israel does not have the luxury of choosing to conduct wars and operations. But we have reached the point where we do not have a choice. My position is clear, we’ve reached the point where decisions must be made. We’ve exhausted all the options,” he said.
An Egyptian security delegation that visited Gaza on Thursday encouraged Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to rein in the protests, according to an Egyptian official.
Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and fears of a fourth have spurred efforts by Egypt and the United Nations for a wider deal that would see Israel ease its blockade in exchange for a long-term truce with Hamas.
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