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More protests as Israel reinforces troops outside Gaza

 

Israel says it has begun reinforcing troops around the Gaza Strip as a precaution against incursions by Palestinians during violent protests along the border.

Such Palestinian demonstrations have often been met by lethal fire from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

Thursday’s Israeli military statement did not indicate any imminent offensive in Gaza, although it appeared to suggest stronger action at the Israel-Gaza frontier.

The troop reinforcement was necessary to foil any further Palestinian attempts to breach Israel’s security fence during the demonstrations, an IDF official told Reuters.

Israel accuses Gaza’s dominant Hamas militant group of inciting violence at the border, an allegation it denies.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007, during which time it has fought three wars with Israel, most recently in 2014.

Since the protests began seven months ago at least 193 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, Gaza medics say.

Also, one Israeli soldier has been killed by Palestinian sniper-fire.

The protesters are demanding the easing of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip as well as rights to lands Palestinian families fled or were driven from on Israel’s founding in 1948.

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