Friday, April 26, 2019
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Wintry weather, diplomacy cool down Gaza border protests

A SEASONAL shift in the weather and intensified international diplomacy are prompting Palestinians mounting protests along Gaza's border with Israel to rethink their tactics.
Since the demonstrations started more than seven months ago, protesters routinely made attempts to breach Israel's frontier fence and launched incendiary balloons and kites that have burned forests and crops inside Israel.
On Thursday, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian at the frontier whom the military said was sabotaging the fence.
His death brought to 220 the number of Gazans killed at the border since the protests began there, according to Gazan officials. An Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper.
The protests draw tens of thousands of people after Muslim prayers on Fridays. But last week was the quietest so far, according to journalists who regularly cover the demonstrations.
One protester, wearing a black mask, said demonstrators were weighing new ways to confront the Israeli military now that seasonal rains have begun."We may use fire crackers, noisy horns and we will try to cut through the fence. We will surprise them with things we will not make public now," said the 23-year-old, who gave his name only as Hakim.
One idea, he said, was to build a giant slingshot to launch rocks across the barbed wire barrier.
A statement by a Palestinian group said it would allow time for diplomacy to work before escalating action again.

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