Israeli gunfire killed six Palestinians and wounded many more during firefights that took place on Friday near Gaza’s border, medics said.
Ahmed al-Hirbawi, Shadi Dawla, Abed al-Wahidi and Nabil Sharaf, all aged 20, were killed in clsashes with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on the border between Israeli territories and Khan Yunis, Gaza medics said.
Mohammed al-Raqab, 15, and Adnan Abu Alian, 20, were also killed in similar clashes east of Gaza City.
Medics said another 80 Palestinians were wounded, 10 of them in serious condition.
The clashes in Gaza took place as Palestinians in West Bank are engaged in similar clashes with IDF over Israeli restrictions on Palestinians’ access to al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Israeli authorities have been preventing Palestinians from entering al-Aqsa, as well as supporting Israeli citizens in storming the holy mosque, prompting Palestinian anger and stabbing attacks against the Israelis.
Meanwhile, Hamas’s Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh called the clashes taking place between Palestinians and IDF in West Bank the beginning of the “Intifada” or “uprising”.
In a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City, Haniyeh said “we are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada.”
“It is the only path that will lead to liberation,” he said. “Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation.”
Stabbing attacks in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel itself along with rioting have raised Israeli fears of a third Palestinian intifada, following a first that began in 1987 and a second in 2000.