Palestinians are sending balloon bombs over the border to Israel

Palestinians are sending balloon bombs over the border to Israel

It's been a long time since both Hamas and Israel appeared satisfied with the outcome of the ongoing protests along the Gaza border, but both sides have been touting their "accomplishments" in Friday's border events to their respective peoples.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and some 21,500 others wounded in renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.

"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.

The 15-year-old demonstrator added: "No matter who you speak with on the border, everyone will continue protesting until the siege is lifted".

In Israel, security officials stressed that the turnout at Friday's protests was relatively low, and that the demonstrations saw the lowest level of violence in recent months.

At least 156 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began more than six months ago, and an Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

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Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council a day after Israeli warplanes struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation at rocket firings from the Palestinian territory. "The #UN is working with #Egypt and its partners to avoid violence, address all humanitarian issues and support reconciliation", Mladenov tweeted.

As expected, "Israel ramped up its military presence along the fence" on Friday, the Middle East Eye reported.

The protests have intensified in recent weeks as Egyptian and United Nations cease-fire negotiations have faltered, and cross-border violence earlier this week has brought tensions to a simmer.

And had the two rockets fired at Beersheba and central Israel Wednesday morning - the first of which destroyed a home - resulted in casualties, we would, of course, be in a completely different place right now.

Israel has responded with a show of force: some 60 tanks massed at the border. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "very strong action" if such attacks, as well border unrest, continued, and some Israeli politicians called for an extensive military operation in Gaza.

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