Israeli special forces sniper injured in Gaza border clashes dies

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An Israeli special forces sniper shot during clashes with Palestinians along the border with the Gaza Strip nine days ago has died of his wounds, police said on Monday.

Barel Hadaria Shmueli was part of a Border Police special unit operating during clashes on the sidelines of a demonstration near the border fence separating the Islamist Hamas-run enclave and Israel.

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"On Saturday, 21.8.21 during an operational activity on the border fence of the northern Gaza Strip, the force came under fire from the Strip, and Barel was critically wounded," a police statement said.

"After over a week during which he fought for his life along with the staff at Soroka hospital (in the southern Israeli city Beersheba), he was pronounced dead."

The August 21 violence left around 40 people wounded, according to Hamas, including a 12-year-old Palestinian boy and a 32-year-old man.

It was a return to the marches of 2018, when Gazans began a protest movement demanding an end to Israel's blockade and the right of Palestinians to return to lands they fled or were expelled from when the Jewish state was founded.

The Hamas-backed weekly demonstrations, often violent, sputtered as Israel killed some 350 Palestinians in Gaza over more than a year.

Hamas and Israel then fought a devastating 11-day conflict in May, the worst between the two sides in years, which ended with an informal truce.

Incendiary balloons sent from the Palestinian territory towards Israel have continued in the months since, however, with Israel blaming Hamas and often retaliating with air strikes.

Israel has at the same time been easing restrictions on civilian life and commerce for the territory it has blockaded since 2007, when Hamas took power.

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