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Palestinians clash with IDF along Gaza border

Incendiary balloon found in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem
By Anna Ahronheim
Dozens of Palestinians marking 11 years since Israel imposed a blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip clashed with IDF troops on Monday in the northern part of the enclave.

Several boats also joined the protesters who were throwing burning tires and stones toward troops near Zikim Beach south of Ashkelon. The troops responded with tear gas and other crowd-dispersal methods.On Saturday, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the reduction of the Gaza fishing zone from nine to six nautical miles following violent protests along the security fence with Israel on Friday.The reduction of the fishing area was done following a security assessment made with the IDF; Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon; and officials from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Earlier in the day, the Israeli Navy detained a Palestinian boat that had exceeded the authorized fishing area near the shores of northern Gaza. Two Palestinian brothers identified as Safwat and Rifaat Zayid were said to have been arrested while fishing off the shores of al-Sudaniyya district in the northern Gaza Strip.

In late September, Abu Rokon warned Gaza residents against cooperating with Hamas, threatening to reduce the fishing zone to three miles if the “daily terror attacks continue.”

Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands others wounded since the outbreak of the Gaza border protests that began on March 30 and which call for an end of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.Palestinians have also been launching incendiary aerial devices into southern Israel from the coastal enclave, burning more than 2,800 hectares of agricultural fields, forests and nature reserves.

On Monday, an incendiary balloon with a cigarette and fuse attached to it was found in the backyard of a residential home in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev north of Jerusalem. Police called to the scene collected evidence and sent the balloon to a laboratory for inspection. There were no casualties and no damage.

Another incendiary balloon was found in a backyard in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood by four children in July.

Incendiary balloons in the West Bank are believed to be launched from nearby Palestinian towns and villages.

The rare finding of an incendiary balloon occurred in the parking lot of Jerusalem’s Malha Mall two weeks ago, and the next day another was found in Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion. Another incendiary balloon was found by four children in a backyard in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood.

No damage or injuries occurred in any of the cases.

Police have stressed that anyone who finds suspicious objects such as incendiary balloons should report it to the authorities and allow sappers to handle the devices, which may contain dangerous explosive or incendiary material.
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