Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli troops

Aaron Brown
April 2, 2018

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an independent inquiry into Friday's violence in Gaza that left at least 17 Palestinians dead and more than 1,400 injured.

"The Israeli army used unbridled violence, unleashing more than 100 snipers and firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the protestors before the very eyes of the entire worldwide community", Ashrawi said in a statement on Saturday.

The march quickly turned bloody as Palestinian protesters and Israeli military clashed along the fence, CNN reported on Saturday.

Live ammunition and tear gas were used to stop the Palestinians from breaking through the border fence, said the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza.

Gaza's health ministry said 35 people suffered wounds that were not life-threatening in low-level clashes along the border on Saturday.

According to the AFP, the draft council statement presented by Kuwait called for an "independent and transparent investigation of the violence", and "called upon all sides to exercise restraint and prevent a further escalation".

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said he was disappointed the Security Council didn't coalesce to condemn what he called a "heinous massacre" of peaceful demonstrators, or to support his call to provide protection for Palestinian civilians.

Diab al-Louh said his country had submitted a memorandum to the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting at the level of permanent representatives over Israel's crimes and use of force against peaceful demonstrators during Land Day protests on Friday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared Saturday a day of mourning to honour the victims.

Palestinians commemorate the date as the anniversary of their mass displacement and uprooting during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel's creation.

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Live fire was used only against people trying to sabotage the border security fence and at least two of the dead were Hamas operatives, an Israeli military official said.

Among them are five who the militant group Hamas has announced are among its members.

"[If] violence drags on along the Gaza border, Israel will expand its reaction to strike the terrorists behind it", army spokesperson Brig.

The Israeli military says it opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

"We were kicked out from our land and our homes, and I hope that the whole world would back us and help us gain our rights", she said while holding the Palestinian flag.

They also claimed Palestinians tried to damage fencing and infiltrate Israel and that protesters opened fire on Israeli soldiers along the border.

The proposed statement also called "for respect for worldwide human rights law and global humanitarian law, including protection of civilians", according to the draft seen by AFP.

Abbas, the West Bank-based leader, renewed a call for global protection of Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was protecting its sovereignty and citizens. "The Great March of Return is a message to Trump", Haniyeh said in a speech to participants east of Gaza City.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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