Israeli forces shoot dead teenager in Gaza protests
GAZA CITY - A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli fire during renewed protests along the Gaza border overnight Thursday, the besieged enclave's health ministry said, with Israel saying it struck a Hamas position in "response" to the violence.
Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Saif al-Deen Abu Zeid, 15, died "due to wounds sustained east of Gaza (City) a few hours ago."
The teenager was shot during protests along the border late Wednesday, Qudra said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman did not comment on the Israeli soldiers' killing of the teenager, but said hundreds of "rioters" had hurled rocks and explosive devices at the heavily armed troops along the border.
Soldiers responded according to "standard operating procedures," she said.
Israeli fighter jets later struck several sites belonging to Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas in the south of the enclave, an army statement said.
The military said the strikes were "in response to the balloons carrying explosive devices and the projectile that were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory earlier this evening."
The vague term "projectile" could refer to a rocket, but Israel's military said it could provide no further details.
A Palestinian security source said a Hamas base was struck in southern Gaza, causing damage but no injuries.
It was the fifth such Israeli strike since Saturday, each in response to either balloon-borne explosive devices floated across the border or explosive devices hurled at the border fence, according to the Israeli military.
The uptick in violence has raised fears a fragile truce agreed in November between Israel and Hamas could collapse, with both sides accusing the other of breaching the terms of the informal agreement.
Islamists Hamas have controlled Gaza since 2007 and have fought three wars with Israel since.
At least 252 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 2018, the majority shot during the at least weekly border protests, while others have been hit by tank fire or air strikes in response to violence from Gaza.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.