Hamas leader meets Egyptian security delegation in Gaza

Gilad Shalit returning to Israel this year

The Home Front Command lifted security restrictions on Gaza border communities on Thursday after a night without rocket fire from Gaza.

The Hamas-led committee organizing the riots released a video marking the 30th week since the "March of Return" campaign was launched with the slogan: "Together Gaza rises up and the West Bank unites."The video calls the Palestinians to attend Friday's riots in droves".

"The Israeli enemy's threats have effectively motivated the crowds to participate powerfully in the protest", said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, which has staged the protests since March.

At least 130 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire on Friday during protests near the Gaza-Israel border.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that over 100 Palestinians were injured with live ammunition, while others suffered tear-gas inhalation.

An Egyptian security delegation visited the Gaza Strip on Thursday and encouraged Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to calm the protests, an Egyptian official said.

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On Wednesday, two rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave at Israel, with one destroying a house in the southern city of Beersheba.

The Israeli army, for its part, said it had struck 20 targets throughout Gaza, going on to hold Hamas - which has governed the strip since 2007 - responsible for the escalation.

In addition, humanitarian efforts there are taking place in coordination with, and in support of, Egypt's efforts to bring Gaza back under the full control of the legitimate Palestinian government, he noted.

Israel's Housing Minister and former Commander of the Israeli army's Southern Command, Yoav Gallant, was quoted in Israeli media stating that "the rules of the game are about to change", hinting that Israel will be stepping up its response against armed groups in the Gaza strip and raising fears of full-scale military action. Israel retaliated with airstrikes and has beefed up its military presence on the border.

Israeli soldiers are positioned on a sand berm as Palestinian protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a protest along the Israel Gaza border, Israel, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.

"Palestinian factions are demanding an end to the Israeli blockade that strangled life and business in Gaza", the official told Reuters. One Israeli soldier has died.


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