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Israeli strike kills Palestinian man in southern Gaza

Three others wounded in attack which killed 22-year-old Abed Kareem Ridwan near Rafah, according to Gaza's health ministry
Relatives of Abed Kareem Ridwan gather in a hospital in the southern Gaza strip (Reuters

A 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed and three other people were wounded in an Israeli strike near Rafah in the southern Gaza strip.

Gaza’s health ministry named the dead man as Abed Kareem Ridwan, and said he had died as a result of Israeli tank shelling which targeted a military post east of Rafah town.

Israel’s military said the target of the attack had been Hamas members who were preparing to launch an “arson balloon” towards Israel, and said it had carried out an air strike.

It said Israeli forces near the border had been targeted with mortar shells but that no one had been injured.

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Palestinians in Gaza have regularly launched kites and balloons, some set alight, during weeks of demonstrations in which they have demanded the right to return to lands claimed by Israel in 1948.

At least 139 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire within the scope of demonstrations since the protests began at the end of March, according to the health ministry.

Israel blames Hamas, which controls Gaza, for the kites and balloons, some of which have set farmland alight in southern Israel, and has previously carried out air strikes in response to the devices being floated into Israeli territory.

Two teenagers were killed and 14 other people wounded last Saturday in air strikes across Gaza.