Israel uses live fire, tear gas against Palestinian protesters

3 Terrorists Reported Killed as IDF, Gaza Exchange Fire on Border

The escalation comes after months of growing tensions in Gaza as Palestinians mounted large, and often violent, demonstrations and Israeli forces opened fire on both armed militants and unarmed demonstrators. The family of the deceased soldier has been notified.

The soldier's murder was what prompted Israel to launch numerous airstrikes against Hamas, which are still ongoing.

He added that Hamas is part of the Palestinian people, and the U.S. must first try to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as the blockade of Gaza which would help bring peace and prosperity to the region.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Palestinians hurled seven grenades and several explosive devices at troops along the border on Friday.

Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war, raising worries of another round of confrontation.

Local sources told Ma'an that hundreds of Gaza residents raced to the return camps along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip to participate in a protest, where they demonstrated against UNWRA's scheme against the rights of refugees.

Following the strikes, rocket warning sirens wailed in communities around Gaza.

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Israel says it is defending its sovereign border and accuses Hamas, a group sworn to its destruction, of using the protests as cover for attempts to breach the border fence and attack civilians and soldiers.

Visiting the Israeli town of Sderot on Friday, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated Israeli demands that Hamas stop the kite fliers. It added that "Hamas chose to escalate the security situation and will bear the consequences for its actions".

Israeli Defense Forces unleashed an air-barrage against targets in the Gaza Strip Friday evening; destroying multiple installations following a "serious shooting incident" against Israeli soldiers operating in the region.

Around 140 Palestinians, mainly unarmed demonstrators, have been killed since late March.

"If Hamas continues to fire rockets then Israel will respond in a much tougher way than they think", Mr Lieberman said in a statement.

A former senior American official, however, said he does not see a solution on the horizon given the wide gulf between the positions of Hamas and Israel.

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