Israel increases armoured presence at Gaza border amid continuing protests


Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that among the 130 Palestinians injured, at least 77 were hospitalised.

For the thirtieth Friday in a row, thousands of Palestinians protested along the Israeli border with Gaza.

An Egyptian security delegation visited the Gaza Strip on Thursday and encouraged Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to calm the protests, an Egyptian official said.

The groups also vowed to continue Gaza protests until the Israeli siege on the Palestinian region is terminated.

On Wednesday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip destroyed a house in the Israeli city of Beersheba in the worst bout of violence in recent weeks.

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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.

A Reuters photographer counted about 60 tanks and armoured personnel carriers at a deployment area near the strip, calling it the largest number of military vehicles he has seen there since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

The large Israeli military deployment on Friday came a day after Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East, said "we remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that nobody claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to prevent".

About 200 Gazans have been killed by Israeli troops since the border protests began, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures. Palestinians take part in the Friday demonstrations to secure their right of return to their homeland. During that time, terrorists have launched incendiary balloons and kites into Israel and on occasion breached the border fence. Negotiators from Cairo, Egypt traveled to Gaza this week in an effort to work out a new settlement deal that would act as a temporary ceasefire.

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