Sol­diers kill teenager in Gaza be­fore air strikes hit en­clave

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Is­raeli sol­diers shot and killed a Pales­tinian teenager near the bor­der fence with Gaza on Fri­day, the health min­istry in the Ha­mas-run en­clave said.

The killing came just be­fore Is­rael car­ried out air strikes in re­sponse to a rocket fired from Gaza.

Fahd Al Astal, 16, died af­ter be­ing shot in the stom­ach east of Khan You­nis. Four other Pales­tini­ans were wounded, the min­istry said.

The or­gan­is­ers of reg­u­lar protests at the bor­der said they had called off the week’s mass demon­stra­tion, but a smaller crowd still gathered.

Res­i­dents said a small num­ber of mostly young Pales­tini­ans ap­proached the bor­der fence.

Is­rael’s mil­i­tary said sol­diers had been fend­ing off Pales­tini­ans who had ap­proached and tried to dam­age the fence. The mil­i­tary also said the demon­stra­tors threw ex­plo­sive de­vices.

“Troops re­sponded with riot dis­per­sal means and .22-cal­i­bre rounds,” a spokesman said.

“A re­port re­gard­ing the death of a Pales­tinian is be­ing looked into.”

Is­raeli sol­diers have shot and killed scores of Pales­tini­ans in re­cent months as thou­sands have turned out for weekly protests on the bor­der of the em­bar­goed en­clave since March.

People are demon­strat­ing against the US recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael and its pro­posed “deal of the cen­tury” peace plan.

They are also calling on Is­rael to ease crip­pling re­stric­tions im­posed when Ha­mas came to power 12 years ago.

Pales­tini­ans have thrown rocks and petrol bombs, as well as send­ing flam­ing kites into the Is­raeli se­cu­rity fence.

Is­raeli forces have re­sponded by shoot­ing pro­test­ers, in­clud­ing medics, leav­ing about 210 dead and up­wards of 10,000 wounded – at least 6,106 with “life-chang­ing wounds”, the UN has said.

Late on Fri­day, an Is­raeli war­plane at­tacked a Ha­mas po­si­tion in Gaza af­ter a rocket was fired from the en­clave.

It was the third rocket to be fired from the Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory at Is­rael in as many days and came two weeks af­ter a deadly flareup be­tween Is­lamic Ji­had and Is­rael.

On Novem­ber 12, Is­rael as­sas­si­nated a se­nior Is­lamic Ji­had leader in Gaza, spark­ing a two-day con­flict that killed 36 Pales­tini­ans.

Is­lamic Ji­had fired about 450 rock­ets at Is­rael, many of which were in­ter­cepted by the Iron Dome de­fence sys­tem. No Is­raelis died.

Ha­mas has con­trolled Gaza since 2007, and un­til this month’s es­ca­la­tion, Is­rael had held the move­ment re­spon­si­ble for all rocket fire com­ing from the ter­ri­tory.

Is­rael has fought three wars with Ha­mas and al­lied armed groups in Gaza since 2008.

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