Palestinian teen dies of wounds from border clash: ministry

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - A Palestinian teen died of his wounds Saturday a day after he was shot by Israeli troops during clashes on the Gaza border, the territory's Hamas-run health ministry said.

Muadh al-Suri, 15, was shot in the stomach on Friday in central Gaza, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, raising the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire during those clashes to two, with over 200 wounded.

According to the Israeli army, some 8,000 Gazans had gathered at different spots along the frontier Friday, attempting to sabotage the Israeli border fence.

A number of Palestinians "infiltrated" Israel and threw firebombs and "an explosive device" before returning to Gaza, it said.

Another Palestinian, 25-year-old Ahmed Yaghi, was killed by a sniper east of Gaza City on Friday.

Yaghi and Suri were buried on Saturday.

At least 159 Palestinians have been killed in border demonstrations that began at the end of March, while one Israeli soldier has been shot dead.

Palestinians have also flown balloons and kites carrying incendiary devices across the border, starting hundreds of fires inside Israel.

On Saturday, the Israeli army said aircraft had fired at "terrorist squads" launching "arson balloons" at Israel in two separate instances, from northern and southern Gaza.

Palestinian sources said drones were used by the army but that no one was wounded.

Meanwhile, the leadership of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas was to meet for a second consecutive day on Saturday amid speculation of a long-term truce between the Gaza Strip's rulers and Israel.

They convened late Friday in Gaza, for the first meeting of its kind by Hamas's political bureau, but ne details of the talks have emerged and Hamas officials did not reply to requests for information.

The meetings were expected to deal with UN and Egyptian proposals for a truce with Israel and lifting the blockade imposed on the Palestinian enclave, according to a senior Hamas source.

Israel had on Thursday reimposed a blockade on fuel supplies to the enclave in response to a resurgence of the flow of fire kites and balloons across the border.

With borders to both Egypt and Israel largely sealed in recent years, Gaza suffers from desperately high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Israel insists its blockade is necessary to isolate Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.

Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the coastal territory's two million residents.


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