4 Palestinians killed during Shabbos protests, rockets resume

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Five rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel early Sunday, the Israeli military announced, following a day of mass protests that saw Israeli troops kill four Palestinians near the territory’s border.

The rocket attack threatens to undermine Egyptian-mediated efforts to cement a deal that the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers hope will ease a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockage of the crowded territory.

No casualties were reported and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the rockets, though they appeared to be in retaliation for the deaths of the protesters.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in the Gaza Strip on Saturday to mark the anniversary of their mass protests along the Israeli border.

Most demonstrators kept their distance from the border, though small crowds of activists approached the perimeter fence and threw stones and explosives toward Israeli troops on the other side. The forces responded with tear gas and opened fire, killing four Palestinians and wounding 64.

Hamas had pledged to keep the crowds a safe distance from the fence to avoid inflaming the political atmosphere during negotiations of a possible easing of the blockade.

Hamas officials say that Israel is offering a package of economic incentives in exchange for calm along the volatile border.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said the group had received “positive signs” from the Egyptians. He added that the Egyptian team was to return to Israel on Sunday to continue the talks. “We will continue our marches until all our goals are achieved,” he said.

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