Israel and Gaza were girding for a possible return to violence Friday, amid fears that renewed border protests could push the sides back to the brink of war after a brief violent flareup days earlier.
Israeli troops were readying for weekly border protests Friday that have turned deadly in the past, with the day being seen as a key test in whether the sides can continue negotiating a long-term ceasefire deal as part of an Egyptian-led effort.
Israel has demanded an end to the weekly confrontations, as well as the frequent launches of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory.
Daoud Shehab, a member of the organizing committee of the marches, said officials were encouraging protesters to stay away from the border fence. But he said he was not sure to what extent they would succeed in restraining the public mood.
There will be attempts to prevent them from approaching the fence. There might be a reduction of balloons, he said. We hope there will be no human losses tomorrow. We are giving a chance to the Egyptian efforts.
According to reports, Egypt had warned Hamas that renewed protests would bring a heavy Israeli response.
On Thursday, Israels top-level security cabinet instructed the army to take a wait-and-see approach to allow mediation eff...