Arab Rioter injured in clashes with IDF near Bet El (file)
Arab Rioter injured in clashes with IDF near Bet El (file) Reuters

Three Palestinians rioters were killed and 17 wounded during clashes Friday near Gaza's border, according to Gazan medical sources.

The clashes came as Hamas's leader in Gaza hailed the recent terrorist violence against Israelis as an "intifada,"  and urged further attacks.

Ahmed al-Hirbawi, Shadi Dawla and Abed al-Wahidi, all aged 20, were killed when soldiers responded after youths threw rocks and other projectiles at them and attempted to break through the border.

An army spokeswoman said the incident was continuing, adding that about 200 Palestinians had approached the fence while hurling rocks and rolling burning tires toward security forces.

"Forces on the site responded with fire toward the main instigators to prevent their progress and disperse the riot," she said.

The spokeswoman confirmed "five hits" without elaborating.

In a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City, Hamas's Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh said "we are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada."

"It is the only path that will lead to liberation," he said. "Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation."

Stabbing attacks throughout Israel along with ongoing rioting by Muslims, have raised fears of a third Palestinian "intifada," or terrorist campaign, following a first that began in 1987 and a second in 2000.

AFP contributed to this report.

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