Gaza protests to resume days after ceasefire agreement
Weekly demonstrations in the Gaza Strip will take place on Friday, Palestinian organisers said, days after a ceasefire deal ended a major uptick in violence between Israel and Hamas.
In their announcement, protest organizers in Gaza urged people to demonstrate Friday "to thank the resistance" for battling Israel.
But in statements on Facebook, organizers also urged demonstrators to stay away from the border fence, a sign that Friday's protest would be restrained.
At least 221 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the end of March, when protests began to demand an end to Israel's decade-long blockade and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Tuesday's ceasefire ended the heaviest fighting between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war.
Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza over the course of some 24 hours as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings while sending fireballs and plumes of smoke into the sky.
Hamas fired nearly 400 rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.
The violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly, killing seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas commander.
An Israeli army officer was also killed.
Before the latest surge in violence, Hamas had lowered the intensity of the protests in recent weeks as UN and Egyptian mediators made progress toward an unofficial agreement with Israel.
Hamas announced on Thursday that Egyptian mediators had arrived in Gaza to work on promoting a deeper cease-fire arrangement with Israel.
Hamas and its supporters have celebrated the ceasefire as a victory against the powerful Israeli military.
In Israel, the ceasefire has triggered a political crisis.
Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who favoured a much harsher response, resigned to protest the truce, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could soon be forced to call an early election.