Firefighters on Sunday worked to extinguish two blazes in southern Israel sparked by airborne incendiary devices launched from the Gaza Strip and police sappers defused another fire balloon on a highway, as a weekend of violent border clashes was followed by relative quiet.
Since Sunday morning, firefighters have combated two fires caused by incendiary balloons near Israeli towns along the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services said.
A police statement earlier on Sunday said sappers located and neutralized an arson balloon on Highway 35, which caused no damage.
The spate of arson attempts came after over 100 improvised bombs and grenades were hurled at Israeli troops during Friday’s riots at the Gaza border, the military said Saturday. The army released footage of the violent demonstrations, which it said were the worst in two months, depicting attempts to breach and sabotage the security fence.
It also said IDF forces were still engaged in the controlled detonation of unexploded bombs and grenades.
In Gaza on Saturday, funerals were held for the seven Palestinians killed in the previous day’s violence, including two teen boys.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza border fence, throwing hand grenades, bombs, rocks, and burning tires in clashes with IDF troops, who responded with tear gas, live fire, and air strikes.
The protest was one of the largest and most violent in recent weeks and comes following the break down of indirect talks with Israel over a ceasefire and warnings that the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, was gearing up for another conflict.
Seven people were killed, including a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, and at least 210 Palestinians were wounded, including an 11-year-old boy, who was in serious condition, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. It said 90 of the wounded were hit by live fire.
The ministry identified three of the dead as Nasser Mosabih, 12, Mohammed al-Houm, 14, and Iyad Al-Shaar, 18, and said they were shot. The other four were in their twenties.
The IDF said about 20,000 Palestinians took part in violent protests, spread out among a few locations along the Gaza security fence.
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