IDF Troops Fire After Gaza Border Breach

Apr 09, 2018, 00:29

Hundreds attended the funeral of a well-known Palestinian journalist in Gaza on Saturday who was killed while covering mass protests along the Israeli border the previous day.

The IDF said Sunday evening that soldiers opened fire on three Palestinians as they tried to sneak across the Gaza border fence into Israel. While Hamas claimed that 18 had died, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority had the number at 16.

As last Friday's protest got under way, six Israeli high school students who were on a study visit to Nahal Oz, clambered up an abandoned guard tower to peer into Gaza. The demonstrators have dubbed it "The Great March of Return" of refugees and their descendants to purported ancestral homes now in Israel.

Around 70 percent of Gaza's two million populations were forced from their homes and now live in a territory the size of the USA city of Detroit - about 360sq km - which has been described as "the world's largest open-air prison".

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Two of those killed were children under the age of 18: Hussein Muhammad Adnan Madi, 13, shot in the stomach with live fire east of Gaza City, and Alaa al-Din Yahya Ismail al-Zamli, 15, fatally wounded east of Rafah. It follows accusations from the United Nations' human rights office that it has indications of Israeli forces using "excessive force" the previous week.

The army said on Friday that protesters had thrown explosive devices and firebombs.

"Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and can not be tolerated".

The Israeli military on Thursday threatened Hamas with a tougher military response to another planned Friday demonstration on Israel's border with Gaza. A range of Israeli restrictions has since been created that further compartmentalise the Palestinian territories.

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Haaretz said the Israeli army is using live fire because it fears a massive breach of the aging Gaza fence.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said eight people were killed and more than a thousand injured during Friday's protests.

"As part of its continuous preparation for future events, the IDF is reviewing its actions and implements lessons-learned with regards to various aspects surrounding the violent riots and terror attacks that have been taking place in the area between the Gaza Strip and Israel since March 30th, 2018", the statement said.

Israel has ruled out the demand, arguing that the return of Palestinians to what is now Israel would outnumber its Jewish majority.

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