Palestinian protesters lift national flags gesture during a demonstration by the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City, to denounce the Israeli siege of the Palestinian strip and express support for Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, Saturday, August 21, 2021. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 21 (UPI) -- An Israeli soldier was critically wounded and dozens of Palestinians left injured after violence erupted along the Gaza border on Saturday.
A Palestinian opened fire on an Israeli border guard at point-blank range during the clash, reports The Times of Israel. Gazan health officials told the paper that at least 41 Palestinians were injured by Israeli troops during a riot. Two were critically injured, including a 13-year-old boy.
The Israel Defense Forces said on Twitter Saturday that "hundreds of Palestinian rioters gathered along the security fence in northern Gaza" earlier in the afternoon. The rioters attempted to climb the security fence and threw explosives at Israeli troops.
The Times described a video circulating on social media that shows a man with a pistol running up to a small hole in the concrete Gaza border wall used by an Israeli sniper. The video shows the man firing the pistol through the hole and striking the border guard, who was taken in critical condition to Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center.
Palestinian groups, including Hamas, organized the Saturday protest in a camp near the border and is the first time Gazans marched toward the wall since December 2019, the Times reported.
Hamas spokesperson Fauzi Baharom said on Saturday that the rally was meant to tell Isreal that "the Palestinian people would not agree to the continued siege in the Gaza Strip, the continued Judaization of Jerusalem and the settlement enterprise," reports Haaretz.
In response to the border clash, the Israeli fighter jets struck four locations used by Hamas to store weapons, reports Haaretz.
Earlier this month, at least one rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel after Israeli police killed several Palestinians while looking for a Hamas operative. The rocket was the first fired after a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas in May.