Tensions mount in Gaza strip

GAZA: Both sides of the Gaza Strip border were preparing for massive new Palestinian protests on Friday, a week after clashes with Israeli forces saw the single bloodiest day in years.
The death toll in the most recent demonstrations now stands at 21 after a man died from his wounds.
The higher figure comes hours after it had risen to 20 overnight with the death of a 34-year-old man killed in a targeted airstrike by Israeli jets as he approached the Gaza security fence.
Palestinians camped out along the border plan to set thousands of tyres ablaze on Friday.
The thick clouds of black smoke, combined with the use of mirrors, are intended to blind and confuse Israeli army sharpshooters, who had targeted ringleaders, protesters said.
Cogat, Israel’s chief liaison office with the Palestinians, warned protesters of the environmental damage caused by burning tyres, with Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan saying that the protest actions would have a negative effect on all of Gaza’s residents.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem called on soldiers not to shoot at the protesters and ignore orders from superiors if necessary. “It’s illegal to shoot at unarmed demonstrators, and such an order is absolutely illegal,” the group said. — dpa