Moscow issues travel warning for Tel Aviv due to Gaza protests

Posted April 03, 2018

Fares al Raqab, 29, was shot in the stomach during Friday's protests to the east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, the local health ministry said on Monday.

Israel has defended its soldiers' actions on Friday, when they opened fire on Palestinians who strayed from a main protest camp and approached the heavily fortified fence cutting off the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which organised Friday's mass march, has hinted that future protests - to be staged off and on for the next six weeks - could culminate in a mass border breach, referring to a Palestinian return to Jerusalem.

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, released a statement on Friday condemning Israel's use of military snipers against the civilian protesters.

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"Our legitimate protest against Israeli military occupation, colonisation and apartheid is granted in worldwide law and must be protected by the global community", Dr. Husam Zomlot said.

Several Palestinian human rights groups have sent a letter to the Israeli attorney general, Avichai Mandelbeit, and the chief military advocate general, Sharon Afek, demanding they order an immediate criminal investigation into the Israeli military killings.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday issued a travel warning for Russian subjects to stay away from crowded places in Tel Aviv due to rallies by activists hoping to escalate tensions in the ongoing clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army on the border with the Gaza Strip.

Israeli military officials have said troops would not allow protesters to cross or damage the border fence, and that protesters would not be permitted to get closer than 100 metres to the fence.

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Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has rejected global calls for an investigation.

Israel on Sunday rejected global calls for an independent investigation into Friday clashes near the Gaza-Israel border fence.

Eight of the dead men belonged to Hamas - the Islamist faction that has ruled in Gaza since 2007 - while the other two belonged respectively to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, and the Palestinian branch of Islamic Jihad. It said another man is also missing in the border area. The date is mourned by Palestinians as their "nakba", or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were uprooted in the 1948 Mideast war over Israel's creation.

Gaza is home to 2 million Palestinians, the majority of them refugees.

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The Gaza protests are created to last six weeks, ending around the time the United States moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in mid-May.