The Israeli military on Saturday confirmed a projectile was fired at Israel from Gaza shortly after rocket alarm sirens sounded in Gaza border communities.
The sirens sounded 24 hours after Israel struck two Hamas targets following violent protests at the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, in which Gaza authorities said a Palestinian woman was killed and at least 14 other people were wounded by Israeli fire.
Tamir Idan, head of Sdot Negev Regional Council along the Gaza border, called on the Israeli army to retaliate for the firing and urged the government to halt the flow of Qatari funds to Hamas’ government in Gaza. "Before we go yet again into a period of occasional terrorism… it’s time to stop it and react," he said.
Some 13,000 people gathered on Friday near the fence at several points, where they burned tires, threw stones and tossed explosive devices and grenades toward Israeli troops, the military said. One soldier was lightly wounded by a stone.
The protests came a day after a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials began holding talks with senior members of Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip with the goal of preventing an escalation of violence both inside the Gaza Strip and along the border fence with Israel.
The delegation met on Friday with the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh. On Thursday they met with senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip Ahmad Halas and other Fatah officials.
>> Israel is relatively optimistic about Gaza. But in the long term, it’s cosmically pessimistic | Analysis
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The Egyptian delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip from Israel via the Erez crossing because of the growing tensions between Hamas and Fatah, after the Palestinian Authority pulled its employees from the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The PA government is also threatening to take further steps against the Hamas government in Gaza.
Hamas also criticized the cancellation of the third cash payment by Qatar to the group, which uses the money to pay the salaries of its officials, as unemployment payments and grants to those injured in the incidents along the border.
Hamas views these funds as the direct result of the fighting along the fence and the weekly protests, so freezing these funds can be expected to lead to an escalation of the violence and confrontations on the part of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Details to follow