Israeli army force comes under fire in Gaza buffer zone

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By Nour Abu Aisha and Abdel Raouf Arnaout,

Jerusalem: Unknown parties in the Gaza Strip fired two mortar shells at an Israeli military force patrolling the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on Thursday, according to the Israeli army.

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The attack did not result in any casualties, the army said in a statement.

Palestinian resistance groups, for their part, have yet to claim responsibility for Thursday’s alleged mortar attack.

The reported artillery barrage comes shortly after a Palestinian was martyred — and three others injured — by an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to Anadolu Agency correspondents based in the area, an Israeli warplane on Thursday afternoon fired two rockets at a guard post in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, killing at least one Palestinian.

In recent weeks, Palestinian activists in Gaza have been flying flaming kites and balloons over Israeli territory as part of ongoing popular rallies along the buffer zone.

According to Israeli officials, the improvised incendiary weapons have caused a number of fires inside Israel, causing significant material damage — in some cases — but no deaths or injuries.

Since the rallies along the buffer zone first kicked off on Mar. 30, more than 140 Palestinian protesters have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Reporting by Nour Abu Aisha and Abdel Raouf Arnaout:Writing by Mahmoud Barakat.

—AA

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