Israeli forces detain Palestinian for alleged knife possession

Israel started construction of an "above-ground barrier" that will completely surround the Gaza Strip in a bid to keep terrorists from infiltrating the Jewish state's territory, officials said Sunday.

Thousands of protesters gathered Friday afternoon in eastern Gaza Strip joining the 45th weekly anti-Israel rallies and protests, known as the "Great March of Return" to break the Israeli blockade.

Netanyahu gave no further details but a defence ministry statement said that work on the structure began on Thursday.

The barrier, set to stand six metres off the ground, "will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground", he said in Hebrew.

It is being built along the same line cut by an underground barrier that is being constructed to prevent the infiltration of cross-border terror tunnels.

A spokesman for the Red Crescent, Mahmoud al-Saadi, said Israeli forces opened fire on two young men who were traveling on a motorcycle near the Jalameh checkpoint in the northern city of Jenin.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, a U.S. official said.

Israel is working on its own version of a border wall.

"I would also like to make it clear: If the quiet is not maintained in Gaza, we will make the decisions even in the elections period and will not hesitate to act", the prime minister added.

Almost 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since they began last March. Demonstrators have repeatedly tried to enter Israel, assault soldiers with explosives and rocks, and have launched hundreds of incendiary kites and balloons to destroy farmland and nature reserves across the border.

It accuses Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

  • Rogelio Becker