5 Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces in West Bank, Gaza Protests

Israeli forces shot dead five Palestinian youths Friday, four in Gaza protests and one in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

In Gaza, the deadly escalation followed two prior weekly protests along the perimeter fence with Israel that saw no fatalities.

The bloodshed is likely to complicate the mission of Egyptian mediators, who intensified their shuttle diplomacy to achieve calm and prevent a full-blown conflict between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered at five locations along the boundary, burning tires and throwing rocks, grenades and firebombs at Israeli troops who respond with tear gas and occasional live fire.

The Israeli army said some suspects briefly crossed the fence. In a separate incident, the military said its aircrafts struck three Hamas military posts in northern Strip.

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

In northern Gaza, a 27-year-old man died after being shot in the head, the ministry said. It added that 170 other protesters sustained various wounds.

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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune; The Associated Press, Fares Akram