Israel strikes Hamas positions in Gaza after border bombs

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen on Gaza City early Friday

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen on Gaza City early Friday

The Israeli army did not comment on the deaths but said "approximately 9,500 rioters and demonstrators" gathered in various locations, "hurling explosive devices, hard objects and rocks" at troops.

On Friday the Gaza health ministry said that two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in two separate border clashes.

"In response to multiple explosive devices that were hurled and exploded during Gaza riots near Israel's border fence this evening, an IDF aircraft targeted two Hamas observation posts in the southern Gaza Strip", a statement from the military read.

Jehad Harara was shot in the head east of Gaza City and Nidal Shatat was shot in the chest near the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, the Gaza Health Ministry reports. It gave no details on when he was wounded.

At least 257 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly border protests began almost a year ago.

And on Saturday, the Israeli army launched two separate air strikes against groups of Palestinians in Gaza who had allegedly flown balloons rigged with explosives into Israel.

These protests were met with deadly force; an independent Commission of Inquiry, set up by the UN's Human Rights Council a year ago, said Israel killed 189 people and shot more than 6,100 others with live ammunition near the Gaza fence, according to The Guardian. Over the past year, about 190 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed in weekly rallies.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya is calling for a mass turnout for border protests scheduled for the first anniversary of the demonstrations, on March 30.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from Gaza, controlled by the Islamist group since 2007.

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