Israeli troops kill four more Palestinians in border protest

Erika Holt
April 22, 2018

The EU issued a statement on Saturday in which it called for a full investigation into Friday's killing of four Palestinians by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the "March of Return" in Gaza.

Demonstrators turned out to border areas of the Gaza Strip for the fourth Friday in a row, on April 20, demanding the right to return to what they consider to be their land in Palestine.

Ayyoub was one of four Palestinians killed Friday by Israeli army fire in the fourth round of weekly border protests led by the Islamic militant Hamas.

"As we once again mourn the loss of lives, the European Union calls on the Israel Defence Forces to refrain from using lethal force against unarmed protesters". The Israeli military, on the other hand, claimed that Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the United Kingdom, was behind the violent demonstrations.

Since late March, 32 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,600 wounded by Israeli army fire in these protests, according to Gaza health officials.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council late Friday that Israeli forces continue demonstrating the "cruelty of their occupation machine, responding to the calls of unarmed civilians for freedom and justice with brutal and lethal force".

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Friday that at least 729 people protesting near the border with Israel were wounded by Israeli gunfire, needed treatment for tear gas inhalation or suffered other injuries.

A Palestinian photographer who took the picture of Ayoub after he was killed said the incident happened a fair distance from the fence.

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He said the Palestinians will not accept an investigation announced by Israel into its military actions in Gaza because "it can not be credible".

The protest began on March 30, and has seen tent encampments spring up near the Israeli-imposed restricted zone along the 40km (25-mile) border fence.

It has accused Hamas of using the protests as a cover for carrying out attacks.

Gazans used catapults and sling-shots to launch stones at Israeli forces, and some Palestinians brought wire-cutters to cut through the border fence, ignoring leaflets dropped by the Israeli military warning residents not to approach the frontier. Most kites showed the colors of the Palestinian flag.

The use of live fire has drawn worldwide criticism but Israel says it is protecting its borders and takes such action when protesters come too close to the border fence. 156 of the wounded were shot with live fire. Palestinians mark the day as their "nakba", or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven from their homes in the Mideast war over Israel's founding.

The Palestinian official said that peace and security around the world start with justice, and implementing International Law, by holding those who violate it accountable for their crimes.

Israel accuses Hamas of staging riots and trying to carry out attacks. Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers.

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