A Palestinian man died in unclear circumstances near the Israel-Gaza border on Monday, hours after Israel and Hamas traded salvoes over Palestinian incendiary kites

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JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian man died in unclear circumstances near the Israel-Gaza border on Monday, hours after Israel and Hamas traded salvos over Palestinian incendiary kites.

The Israeli military said in a statement that five Palestinian militants were wounded while attempting “to sabotage a security infrastructure” along the border in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 24-year-old Sabri Abu Khader died an hour after arriving at the hospital, without specifying the cause of his death.

Earlier in the day the Israeli military said it struck nine Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in a bid to deter Palestinians from launching incendiary kites and balloons into Israel.

The army said that the airstrikes were a response “to arson and explosive kites and balloons” launched into Israel in recent weeks. During the bombings, Palestinian militants fired three rockets into southern Israel. No injuries were reported on either side.

The flaming kites and balloons have devastated large swaths of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel, causing extensive damage to agriculture and threatening local communities.

Gazans began flying kites with burning rags attached to them during mass protests against an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the territory.

Israeli troops have killed more than 120 Palestinians and wounded over 3,800 since the weekly demonstrations began on March 30. Most of the casualties have been unarmed, drawing heavy international criticism of Israel’s open-fire orders.

The Israeli military says it is defending a sovereign border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover for attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.