2 Palestinians injured as Israeli drone strikes launchers of arson balloons

Li Jiayao

GAZA, July 17 (Xinhua) -- An Israeli army drone fired a missile at a group of Palestinian young men launching arson balloons from eastern Gaza City into Israel, injuring two of them, medical sources said.

One of the two injured by the shrapnel of the missile was in serious condition, the sources said.

The death toll in the Gaza Strip since March 30 has grown to 140 after a young Palestinian died of his wounds on Tuesday in east Jerusalem, Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement.

Sari al Shubaki, 24, died in hospital of his wounds he sustained on May 14 from an Israeli gunshot in the back during protests in eastern Gaza close to the border with Israel, the statement said.

Since March 30, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been organizing rallies and protests called "the Great March of Return." More than 16,000 Palestinians were injured and over half of them were shot by live gunfire, said the statement.

Israel said the rallies would drag its army to wage a large-scale military offensive against Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, after the Palestinians released hundreds of arson kites and balloons into Israel.

In the past few days, a significant escalation occurred between Israel and Hamas-led militants in the Gaza Strip, before Egypt mediated a ceasefire between the two sides.


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