Palestinians Riot on Gaza Border, but Major Violent Escalation Avoided

MK David Bitan at a Likud party faction meeting in the Knesset

MK David Bitan at a Likud party faction meeting in the Knesset

Many militant groups in Gaza released videos of rockets being aimed at Israel, in response to a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet.

The militant Hamas group praised the turnout as a challenge to Israel, which was mulling a large-scale military response after a rocket was sacked from Gaza on Wednesday and destroyed a house in southern Israel.

"The Israeli enemy's threats have effectively motivated the crowds to participate powerfully in the protest", said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, which has staged the protests since March.

Palestinian protesters sent this homemade bomb floating into Gaza during recent border clashes with Israeli forces - but it was safely shot down before it could do any damage.

He did not say when the carnage took place, but according to Palestinian medical sources, more than 225 Palestinians were killed - including women and children - when Israel shelled a Gaza police compound in December of 2008.

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Israeli sharpshooters fired on protesters who attempted to breach the border fence.

In Gaza, a Palestinian official said the Egyptian delegation was also in contact with Israeli leaders to curb the current tensions. Israeli forces have already killed over two hundred protesters since late March when the rallies began. "The working with Egypt and its partners to avoid violence, address all humanitarian issues and support reconciliation".

With its economy in a freefall and tensions rising with Israel, the Hamas-ruled enclave of Gaza is imploding, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East warned Thursday.

The remarks came after the Israeli army said that a rocket fired from Gaza had hit the city of Beersheba in the Negev Desert and a second had landed in the sea.

Hamas has said the protests will continue until there is an easing of the Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Palestinian enclave that was imposed after the Islamic group seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 in an armed coup. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "very strong action" if such attacks, as well border unrest, continued, and some Israeli politicians called for an extensive military operation in Gaza.

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