The Latest: Israel fires into Gaza after Palestinian attack
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (all times local):
Israel’s military says a tank fired at a Hamas military post in Gaza after Palestinians briefly crossed the frontier and threw bombs.
The military said it sustained no casualties in the incident.
It says some 8,000 Palestinians took part in a weekly border rally led by the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the territory.
Several exiled Hamas leaders attended the protest. The delegation is in Gaza amid high-level discussions about an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.
Husam Badran, one of the visiting Hamas leaders, said “we want to break the siege on Gaza once and forever.”
Hamas has led months of border protests aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after it took control of Gaza in 2007.
Gaza’s Health Ministry says one Palestinian has been killed and 50 wounded by Israeli army fire in protests near the perimeter fence between the Hamas-ruled territory and Israel.
The ministry says an additional 70 Palestinians suffered other types of injuries.
Friday’s demonstration was the latest in a series of regular protests that began in late March, in part to try to break an 11-year-old border blockade of Gaza. Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after the Islamic militant Hamas overran the territory in 2007.
The protest came as Egypt tries to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. As part of the negotiations, several exiled Hamas leaders have entered Gaza for high-level internal consultations. Several of the exiled leaders attended the border protests Friday.
An activist boat challenging Israel’s naval blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza is approaching the territory.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group for pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world, said Friday the Swedish-flagged vessel, Freedom, was nearly 60 miles (95 kilometers) off the coast.
The boat and another vessel, which was intercepted by Israeli forces on Sunday, set sail to Gaza from Europe last week.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Hamas took over the territory in 2007.
Activists have made several attempts to breach the blockade in recent years, most notably in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turks in a raid at sea.
Gaza’s ruling Hamas says exiled members of its decision-making political bureau have entered the territory for high-level discussions about an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire deal with Israel.
The Hamas website Safa said Friday this marks the first time all members of the political bureau have come together in Gaza. It says the delegation arriving from exile late Thursday included Saleh Arouri, a founder of the Hamas military wing wanted by Israel.
Hamas officials have said guarantees were given that the delegation would not be targeted by Israel and that progress has been made toward a truce that could pave the way for a U.N.-led reconstruction of Gaza.
Separately, Israel’s prime minister has put off a planned South America trip and called a special Cabinet meeting Sunday to monitor Gaza developments.