Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza
RAMALLAH - Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man in Gaza as thousands took part Friday in a protest along the fence separating the Gaza Strip, fueled in part by Hamas' rejection of Qatari cash aid after what the militant group says were Israeli delays in transferring the funds.
Israeli troops on Friday also fatally shot a Palestinian teenager and wounded another after they threw stones at Israeli motorists in the occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli army.
Soldiers "responded by firing at the suspects, who received medical treatment. One of the suspects later died of his wounds and another was injured," a statement said.
It added that the army was investigating the incident. Palestinians have in the past frequently criticised the Israeli army's investigations into the killing of civilians by its own troops, saying it frequently exonerates itself and is far too lenient in the rare cases that it acknowledges wrongdoing.
Residents of the dead youth's village of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, named him as Ayman Hamed, 17.
There was no immediate word on the condition of the wounded Palestinian.
The army said that the alleged stone throwing was aimed at traffic on highway 60, the main north-south road through the West Bank which runs close to Silwad and is heavily used by Israeli settlers.
The area has seen an uptick in violence recently.
Last month, Palestinian gunmen shot dead two Israeli soldiers and wounded two other people at a bus stop outside the nearby illegal Jewish settlement of Ofra.
In a separate incident just days earlier a pregnant woman was one of seven Israelis wounded in a drive-by shooting near Ofra.
Some 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank in Jewish-only settlements considered illegal by the international community. They live in tense proximity to around 2.6 million Palestinians on territory Israel has occupied militarily since 1967.
In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Hamas vowed to escalate the weekly demonstrations along the fence separating the Gaza Strip, which it has organized since last March to highlight the besieged enclave's dire economic conditions, exacerbated by more than a decade of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
The violence during the Gaza protests continued despite calls by the Qatari ambassador to Gaza Mohammed al-Emadi on Friday for "a quiet day" along the fence.
The Hamas-run health ministry said Ehab Abed, 25, was critically shot on Friday in the chest along the fence east of the town of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip and died soon afterward. At least 22 other Palestinians were wounded by gunfire, including 14 minors, at several locations along the fence, it said.
The protesters burned tires and threw rocks and firebombs toward the heavily guarded fence. Along with live fire, Israeli forces also fired tear gas.
Responding to international criticism for using lethal force to counter the protests, Israel says that Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, is using them as a cover to carry out attacks.
At least 185 Palestinians have been shot by Israeli soldiers in the protests. Those killed include thirty children, two journalists and three medics, and thousands have been wounded.
Qatar had pledged a $90-million package to help Hamas pay long overdue wages for its civil servants for six months. Israel hopes the money would ease the deadly demonstrations.
Israel approved on Thursday the delivery of the third installment of Qatari cash infusion but only after two weeks of postponement.
The infusion of $15 million would have been used to pay civil servants in the Hamas-ruled strip but the militant group on Thursday declined to accept the funds due to conditions imposed on the transfer by the Israeli government.
Around $5 million monthly was earmarked by Qatar for impoverished Gazans. After Hamas' refusal to accept the funds, Qatar said Friday it was redirecting the money to UN humanitarian projects in Gaza.
On Saturday, thousands of impoverished Gazans received $100 payments after the Gulf emirate managed to bring in over $9 million in aid funds for the Palestinian territory.
Hundreds of people queued at post offices in the Gaza Strip to each collect a $100 bill.
Palestinian media earlier quoted Emadi as saying the money would go to Gaza's poor.
"The Qatari grant for needy families will enter Gaza Saturday and be distributed... to 94,000 families," he was quoted as saying.
Half the funds would be distributed Saturday and the rest Sunday, he said, with each family receiving $100.
Emadi was not immediately available to confirm the arrangement.