Israeli forces kill 4 Palestinians at Gaza rally

Posted April 22, 2018

"Yesterday Israeli soldiers again opened fire on protesters in Gaza using live ammunition from across the border fence killing four Palestinians, including a 15-year old and wounding more than 150", said European Union spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic. More than 1,600 have been wounded by live rounds in the past three weeks, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group said Saturday that al-Batsh was an important member of the organization, raising suspicions that Israel was behind the brazen killing.

Four Palestinians - including 15-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim Ayoub - were killed by Israeli army gunfire on Friday amid ongoing rallies on the Gaza Strip's eastern border against Israel's decades-long occupation.

The IDF has responded to the demonstrations, which include burning tires, throwing rocks, and attacks on the border fence, by firing live bullets, rubber bullets, and dropping and firing tear gas at people behind the border fence. Videos circulated on social media appeared to show Ayoub having been shot in the head.

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Israel says it has only opened fire when necessary to guard its border and prevent violence, but no Israelis have been wounded and its open-fire rules have come under scrutiny.

Yesterday's protest was dubbed "Friday of Kites", with protests flying messages to Israel on the border.

Palestine's ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour also renewed calls for a "transparent and independent investigation". It did not provide details about the circumstances of Friday's shooting, which came as Palestinians were gathering for a fourth weekly mass protest on the border.

More than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.

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According to The Committee to Protect Journalists, Israeli forces wounded four journalists covering Friday's protests. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded.

Prior to the protests, the IDF dropped pamphlets in Arabic from the sky, warning locals not to cooperate with Hamas and not to get too close to the border fence. It has said it will not allow protesters to approach or damage the border fence.

He also mentioned the issue of the PLO National Council, which is scheduled on April 30, urging all political factions to take part in "to achieve the political decisions of the last Central Council session which called for severing ties with Israel".

To date, the UNSC has not commented on the events in Gaza as the US - Israel's ally and permanent member of the council - continues to block proposed statements critical of Israel's use of force against unarmed protesters.

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