16 Palestinian Arabs were wounded by Israeli army gunfire on Friday in two separate incidents near the border fence in Gaza, medical sources told AFP.
Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry, said a 12-year-old boy was in serious condition after being shot in the head northeast of Gaza City near Jabalia.
Thirteen other Palestinian Arabs who had been throwing stones at Israeli soldiers were also wounded when the troops opened fire at them, he added.
The wounded are victims of the weekly Friday provocation, where Arabs riot near the border fence and attack security forces with rocks.
An IDF spokeswoman told AFP that "hundreds of Palestinians" had been throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers beyond the border fence and attempting to sabotage it.
The soldiers opened live fire at "the lower extremities of the main instigators" after attempts to disperse them with riot dispersal means failed, she added.
In the second incident, noted AFP, a Palestinian Arab boy, also aged 12, was seriously wounded by Israeli gunfire near the Sufa crossing east of Rafiah in southern Gaza.
A Hamas security officer was moderately wounded when he was shot in the leg, Qudra told AFP.
Hamas security sources told the news agency that several children, residents of the area, were playing near the border when they were shot at by Israeli soldiers.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers had identified "an armed suspect" approaching the security fence and fired warning shots before using live ammunition.
Israeli security sources told AFP the armed suspect was most likely the Hamas officer but they were not aware of a child being hit by Israeli bullets there.
These clashes are common on Fridays, when Arabs hold regular protests near the border in support of Gaza farmers who claim Israeli troops uprooted their trees to create a buffer zone.
In a similar incident last week, 17 Gazans were wounded after they attacked the soldiers with rocks and failed to stop when asked, forcing soldiers to open fire.
Two weeks ago, five Arabs were wounded by Israeli army gunfire near the border fence.
The soldiers opened fire after they were attacked by rocks hurled over the border fence.
Tensions have risen in and around Hamas-ruled Gaza in recent weeks, as the rocket attacks by Gaza terrorists have increased.
Last Friday evening, terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired a Kassam rocket which exploded in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no physical injuries or damages.
Only an hour earlier, a Gaza rocket exploded in an open area in the Hof Ashkelon Region. There were no physical injuries or damages in this attack as well.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)