Israeli destroys tunnel, shuts Gaza border

Palestinian protesters have been injured on the border between Israel and Gaza Strip.The Israeli army has destroyed an 800-metre-long Hamas tunnel near the border with the Gaza Strip, as tensions in the area remain high amid ongoing Palestinian protests.

Israel also closed a main border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, a day after renewed violence between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces on the edge of the coastal enclave.

No casualties were reported in Palestinian or Israeli media, though the Palestinian news agency Wafa said the attacks caused the area in northern Gaza to catch fire, causing damage to surrounding homes.

According to Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus, the tunnel, the ninth destroyed since October, did not enter Israel but was near the Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza.

The Erez crossing was closed, with the Israeli army saying it would remain shut until damage caused by protests on Friday were repaired and in accordance with “a situation assessment”.

Israel has said that the Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, is attempting to carry out attacks on the border fence and ultimately on Israeli border communities.

Friday marked the seventh week of protests in Gaza, in which demonstrators are demanding the right for Palestinian refugees of the 1948 regional war to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

At least 55 Palestinians have been killed in the protests over the past weeks, including a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries he sustained Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Saturday.

Some 1900 Palestinians have also been injured by Israeli fire.

The protests are set to culminate on May 14 and 15, when Palestinians mourn the anniversary of Israel’s creation.

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