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Twenty-nine fires erupted in Israeli communities ‎near the Gaza Strip border in a single day this week, as Palestinian ‎arson terrorism continued to wreak havoc near the ‎volatile frontier. Israeli troops fired tear gas and live rounds, wounding several protesters and a medic.

The Hamas website Safa said Friday this marks the first time all members of the political bureau have come together in Gaza. Israel and the United States designate Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Hamas has led months of border protests partially aimed at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after it took control of Gaza in 2007.

"A number of suspects infiltrated into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, hurled firebombs and an explosive device in the border fence area and then returned into the Gaza Strip", an army statement said.

No details have been released about the length of the delegation's visit to the Strip.

The military said it sustained no casualties in the incident.




Israel has lost tracts of farmland and forests to fires set by kites and helium balloons laden with incendiary material and flown over from Gaza.

It is the 19th consecutive anti-Israel Friday protests since March 30, the first day of the ongoing Palestinian "Great March of Return" rally against Israel's 11-year crippling blockade and the US embassy move to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.

In another development, a boat carrying activists challenging Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is approaching the territory, said the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group for pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world.

With borders to both Egypt and Israel largely sealed in recent years, Gaza suffers from desperately high rates of poverty and unemployment.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group for pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world, said Friday the Swedish-flagged vessel, Freedom, was almost 60 miles (95 kilometers) off the coast.

"The ship was monitored and was intercepted in accordance with global law", the Israeli military claimed.


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