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Palestinian teen dies in violent border clashes against Israeli troops

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Palestinian teen dies in violent border clashes against Israeli troops
Palestinian demonstrators confront Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence earlier this month. One Palestinian teenager died Thursday after being shot in the head by Israeli troops. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

March 7 (UPI) -- A 15-year-old Palestinian boy died Thursday after being shot in the head during a riot at the Gaza border where violence has erupted every night this month.

Six other protesters were wounded by Israeli troops and were taken to the hospital. Over the last week, young Palestinians have gathered by the Israeli border as part of the Great March of Return protest. They call themselves the "night disturbance unit" and focus on psychological warfare against Israeli civilians using loud explosives and megaphones.

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The teenager, who was shot in the head, was identified as Saif al-din Abu Zeid.

The Great March of Return, referring to demonstrations lobbying for Palestinians to return to property from which they were displaced in 1948, started March 30, 2018.

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The two sides are having indirect peace talks in hopes of reaching a cease-fire, the London-based Arabic language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported. The talks are being mediated by Egypt. As part of that process, Israel demands that Hamas end all violence at the border.

While peace talks are ongoing, Arabic-language news outlets report that Israel has warned of widespread military action if the demonstrations and attacks continue. Israel accuses Hamas of using explosive devices attached to clusters of balloons to terrorize Israeli homes.

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Santiago Canton, the chairman of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry, said in a release in February that Israeli troops may have committed crimes against humanity in response to the Great March of Return.

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The U.N. commission estimated 189 Palestinians have died and more than 9,200 were injured last year. One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper and four others were injured, the U.N. report said.

On Thursday, Israeli aircraft struck Hamas compounds in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said on Twitter.

"We hold Hamas accountable," the IDF said.

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