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Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Israeli fire in new Gaza border protest kills 4 Palestinians

Israeli fire in new Gaza border protest kills 4 Palestinians

The Israeli army said it was on high alert and warned Palestinians via airdropped leaflets to refrain from violence and avoid approaching the security fence.

There have been no Israeli casualties, and Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to troops.

Hamas says the protests are aimed at breaking a crippling border blockade that was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections.

On Friday they fitted kites with cans of flammable liquid, which they flew across the border to start fires in Israel.

In response, a retired former Israeli army spokesman, Peter Lerner, tweeted suggestions to Mladenov, including: "Please go to Gaza, engage Hamas and get them to stop sending people to the fence".

According to Palestinian officials, Israeli soldiers have killed 35 people and injured hundreds more, many by live fire, since the beginning of the weekly demonstrations.

The EP also called for an "immediate and unconditional end to the blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip", which, it said, results in "a deteriorating unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the area".

Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

He was at least 100m from Israeli forces at the time, the journalist said, and later gave up and left the area.

Ahead of the renewal of the protests on Friday, Hamas asked families of Palestinian killed by or imprisoned in Israel to show up with pictures of their children.

When first distributing the photo on April 13, Israel's military said the main person in it was "a terrorist wielding an item suspected of being an explosive device used for terror purposes while journalists and a handicapped person stand closely behind him".

It accuses Palestinian movement Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.

While Hamas and smaller Palestinian factions have taken a lead as organizers, the mass marches are also fueled by growing desperation among Gaza's 2 million residents.

The border blockade has trapped almost all of them in the tiny coastal territory, gutted the economy and deepened poverty.

Hundreds were clashing with Israeli forces, an AFP correspondent said.

Israel has faced global criticism for its response to the mass marches. Since there is no justification in murdering unarmed civilians, particularly since the Israeli forces have many means at their disposal in order to respond to non-violent disruptions, the message is clear: Palestinians have no rights that the Israeli establishment is bound to respect.

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