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As it happenedended1526409683

Gaza protests - as it happened: Two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in second day of deadly violence

Two countries recall ambassadors while UN describes conduct as 'shocking'

Samuel Osborne
,Jon Sharman,Lizzy Buchan
Tuesday 15 May 2018 13:30 BST
Israeli drones fire tear gas as clashes erupt at Gaza-Israel border protests

Israel has faced widespread international condemnation after 58 people including a baby were killed in protests in Gaza, where Israeli soldiers met rocks thrown by Palestinians with live ammunition.

A 51-year-old man was also killed in Tuesday's more muted demonstrations, along with another protester, bringing the total number of dead to 60.

The US joined Israel in blaming Hamas for the deaths, with the Israeli military suggesting the terrorist group attempted armed violence under cover of the demonstrations against Donald Trump’s move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Turkey and South Africa, staunchly aligned with the Palestinians, recalled their ambassadors to Israel while Boris Johnson said: “We understand that some have been provoking that violence but on the other hand there has got to be restraint in the use of live rounds.”

Khaled Batch, the head of the organising committee of protests, said Tuesday would be a day for funerals. It is also what Palestinians call the “Nakba” day, the anniversary of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians’ displacement following Israel’s founding.

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Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community to condemn what he called “massacres” carried out by Israeli troops in Gaza.

Of the 59 Palestinians killed, six were children, Gaza's health ministry said. Some 1,360 Palestinians were wounded by bullets, including 130 who were in serious or critical condition.

Egypt, an important ally of Israel, condemned the killings while the UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, decried the “shocking killing of dozens”.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, called on Israel to respect the “principle of proportionality in the use of force” and show restraint, while also urging Hamas to ensure any protests remain peaceful.

Additional reporting by agencies


Welcome to our live coverage of events in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as fallout from the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem continues.

Jon Sharman15 May 2018 07:58
Jon Sharman15 May 2018 07:59

Israel's ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, has said the country "did everything we could to avoid" yesterday's killings.

"We dropped leaflets urging people not to attack the border, we used social media, we used radio and television broadcasts," he told BBC Radio 4's Today ​programme.

"We didn't want to see this violence."

Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:16

Challenged on the Israeli Defence Force's use of live ammunition, Mr Regev said protester were armed with "far more than the odd rock".

"You've got people charging the border fence with wire cutters, with explosives, with Molotov cocktails, with other weapons.

"Their goal is clear and Hamas has articulated the goal ... 'to breach the border, to get inside Israel and to kill Israeli citizens'."

Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:19

Mr Regev said he "rejects" the suggestion the IDF engaged in the indiscriminate use of lethal force, as charged by Today.

The protests were not "spontaneous", he said.

He added: "If they were protesting inside Gaza no one would interfere."

Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:22

Mr Regev insisted that "we only use live fire in a very measured way, a very surgical way, and only when there is no alternative".

Pressed on how so many could have died if this was the case, he said there were "40,000 people involved in violent riots on our border", with "continuous attempts" to breach the frontier.

"We have to protect our people," he added.

Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:25
Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:30

Rocket warning sirens sounded in southern Israel near the Gaza border on Tuesday, the Israeli military said, but it was not immediately clear whether any missiles had been fired from the Palestinian enclave.

The sirens went off on the day Palestinians mark the "Nakba", or "Catastrophe" of their dispossession when Israel was founded 70 years ago, and the day after Israeli forces killed 58 Palestinians during protests at the border.


Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:37

The UN Security Council was due to meet on Tuesday to discuss yesterday's violence on the Gaza border.

Kuwait had called for the session to be held but it was unclear what might come from it.

Diplomats said countries were unable to reach unanimous agreement yesterday on a proposed joint statement circulated by Kuwait.

The draft statement would have expressed "outrage and sorrow" at the killings, sought an "independent and transparent investigation", and called on all sides to exercise restraint.

​Additional reporting by AP

Jon Sharman15 May 2018 08:55
Jon Sharman15 May 2018 09:10

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