Nine Palestinians Injured in Clashes with Israeli Troops in Gaza Strip
Nine Palestinians were injured Saturday in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip, witnesses and hospital sources said.
Earlier in the day, seven Palestinians were hurt in a clash near the Bureij refugee camp, on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, hospital sources said.
The clash occurred when youths threw stones and firebombs at Israeli soldiers, who retaliated with rubber-coated bullets and live rounds, witnesses said.
Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers also broke out at Erez, the main crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, witnesses said, who added that the youths had set fire to a factory.
Hospital sources said two Palestinians were wounded in that clash, both shot in the legs.
Overnight, at least 10 Palestinian houses were damaged at a refugee camp outside the southern city of Khan Yunis, witnesses said, when Israeli soldiers responded with rockets and machine-gun fire after coming under attack from Palestinian gunmen.
An Israeli army spokesman could not confirm the rocket attack, but said the Israeli army had retaliated with gunfire in Khan Yunis after "massive Palestinian shooting" at Israeli positions.
Exchanges of gunfire also occured overnight in at least three West Bank towns, including an incident in which Israeli tanks fired shells into Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, in the West Bank.
An Israeli spokesman told AFP the shelling was in response to fire on Israeli positions by Palestinian "heavy machine-guns."
The spokesman said Palestinians fired at Israeli positions near the West Bank towns of Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah during the night, but no casualties were reported.
He told AFP that there had been "a decrease in the number of incidents reported during the night, which was relatively calm."
Israel on Thursday gave the Palestinians 24 hours to bring calm to the region, though officials have downplayed the rigidity of that ultimatum.
Palestinians say it is up to Israel to de-escalate the tension by pulling back its military hardware and opening Palestinians cities, which have been sealed off by the Israeli army for the greater part of the past month.
Some armored units were withdrawn overnight – GAZA CITY (AFP)
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