Palestinian killed in Gaza border blast

Palestinian killed in Gaza border blast
2 min read
07 July, 2018
Mohammed Abu Halima, 22, died in the Gaza border area after a grenade allegedly exploded in his hands.
Protesters continue to rally in Gaza [Getty]

A Palestinian died along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on Friday, the enclave's health ministry said, with witnesses and the army saying a device he was holding had exploded. 

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Mohammed Abu Halima, 22, had died from shrapnel wounds to his chest, sustained in an explosion east of Gaza City.

Qudra did not provide further details details on the source of the shrapnel.

Initial reports also said Abu Halima had been shot by Israeli snipers, however a host of Palestinian eye witnesses said Abu Halima was wounded when a device he was holding exploded. The explosion wounded several other protestors.

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The Israeli army said that several "terrorists" approached the security fence "with the intention of hurling an explosive device at IDF soldiers adjacent to the Karni crossing in the northern Gaza Strip". 

"The explosive device went off within the Gaza Strip and injured several Palestinians," the army said in a statement. "No injuries to IDF soldiers were reported."

Some 3,000 Gazans took part in weekly demonstrations along the border with Israel on Friday, according to a military spokeswoman. The protests, as usual, were met by a severe Israeli response including tear gas and live ammunition.

Qudra said 146 Palestinians had been injured in the day's protests, most of them from tear gas and 24 by Israeli gunfire.

Palestinians in Gaza have been demonstrating against Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

Read more: Hamas, Israel in indirect talks to end Gaza crises: Qatari official

Since the protests began on March 30, they have been violently quashed by the Israeli army. At least 139 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

The majority of those killed were non-violent protestors, as well as journalists, bystanders and a nurse, however a small number were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.

No Israelis have been killed.

Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations, despite the fact that protestors throwing stones or molotov cocktails pose little threat to the heavily-defended border.

Agencies contributed to this report.