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After fatal Gaza protests, rockets hit southern Israel

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli forces shot dead five Palestinians Friday, four in Gaza protests and one on…

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli forces shot dead five Palestinians Friday, four in Gaza protests and one on the West Bank and the Palestinian militants later fired several rockets in southern Israel.

In Gaza the deadly escalation followed two weekly protests along the perimeter of Israel with no deaths.

Blood sands are likely to complicate the mission of Egyptian mediators, which intensified their commuter diplomacy to achieve calm and prevent a full blown conflict between Gaza’s rulers and Israel.

Last Friday, the Israeli army said that 10 to 12 rockets were fired from Gaza to southern Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System intercepted several missiles.

Formerly thousands of Palestinians gathered in five places along the border, burning tires and throwing stones, grenades and firebombs in Israeli troops that respond to tear gas and sometimes live fire.

The Israeli army said that some suspects crossed the fence shortly. In a separate incident, the military said that its aircraft struck three Hamas military services in the Northern Strip.

Three of the dead were reported in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, according to the Ministry. Witnesses said dozens of protesters approached the fence there.

In northern Gaza, a 27-year-old man died after shooting a head in his head, the ministry said. It allowed 170 other protesters to experience various injuries.

The militant Hamas group has reduced the fatal protests over the last two weeks, when Egypt intensified its efforts to ensure peace.

On Wednesday, Egyptian intelligence officials met representatives of Palestinian faction in Gaza. Loay Qarouti from the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine General Command said that mediators asked them “to protect the protesters’ lives and minimize losses among them”.

Egypt wants peacefully restored to achieve national Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas seized Gaza 2007 and the West Bank-based administration of President Mahmoud Abbas.

But Hamas claims it wants a complete lift of a devastating blocked Israel and Egypt imposed on Gaza to isolate the Islamic movement.

The blockade has made Hamas increasingly difficult to rule. Widespread desperation among Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants – who only get a few hours of electricity a day and unnecessary tap water, in addition to suffering from increased unemployment and limited freedom of travel – burns their participation in Hamas-orchestrated protests.

Since the marches began six months ago, at least 160 Palestinians present or participating in the protests have been killed. A Gaza militant killed an Israeli soldier in July.

Israel accuses Hamas of using the great protests as protection to infiltrate and attack the borders. It says it defends its border and accuses Hamas of exploiting young protesters and encouraging them to risk their lives to increase pressure to ease the blockade.

Israel has come under strong international criticism for what many see as excessive use of violence

In the West Bank, a 33-year-old Palestinian man and nine others were injured by living rounds, one in critical conditions when the Israeli forces confronted the stonecutters in a city near Ramallah city, doctor said.

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