Three Palestinians were killed and 300 others wounded in clashes that erupted during a Hamas-led protest along the Gaza border Friday as the terror group and Israel observed a cease-fire, which took hold at 10:45pm on Thursday evening.
Among the dead were a 22-year-old paramedic and a 55-year-old man, Palestinian health officials said. A third man succumbed to his injuries on Saturday morning.
Despite the temporary cessation of hostilities, Hamas has called on Gaza residents to participate in the weekly “March of Return” demonstrations on the border.
Around 9,000 Palestinians took part in the protests along the fence in five different locations, some of whom set tires ablaze, hurled stones, explosives and fire bombs at troops.
The soldiers "responded with riot dispersal means and live fire, in accordance with the standard operating procedures", said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
In addition, an IDF tank shelled a Hamas outpost in the northern Gaza Strip in response to a grenade that had been thrown at soldiers, said the IDF. Another outpost had also been shelled in southern Gaza.
No injuries among the Israeli forces were reported.
One Hamas spokesman said that the Palestinian people would continue to stage protests until the group’s aims had been achieved, with the first being the lifting of the siege around Gaza.
“Every time the Israeli killing machine tries to break the strength and will of our people to continue its struggle, every time it will fail,” said the spokesman.
The IDF also confirmed that it has completed the deployment of Iron Dome batteries in central Israel.
In the meantime, six fires broke out in the Gaza border communities as a result of incendiary balloons flown from the strip into Israeli territories. All fires had been extinguished.
Earlier, all restrictions were lifted on Israeli residents of towns and cities neighboring the Gaza Strip after a ceasefire went into effect the previous night following a huge exchange of fire between Hamas and the IDF between Wednesday and Thursday.
At least seven Israelis were wounded from the Gaza rockets, with one landing as far as Be'er Sheva. Mortar shells and rockets also hit the entrance of a residential home in Sderot, a house in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and a building in an industrial zone of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council. The Iron Dome intercepted at least 30 rockets.
Palestinian officials said at least three people were killed in the Israeli attacks: Hamas fighter Ali Ghandour, 23-year-old Enas Khamash, who was pregnant, and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan. At least five civilians were wounded. Gaza's Health Ministry said the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.