Palestinians killed as Israeli troops fire at protesters in Gaza | News | DW | 27.04.2018
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Palestinians killed as Israeli troops fire at protesters in Gaza

Multiple deaths are reported after Israeli troops opened fire at Palestinian protesters holding their weekly rally near the Gaza border. Israeli military said "hundreds of rioters" attempted to breach the border fence.

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Palestinians protest at Gaza border

At least three Palestinians were killed in the latest bout of deadly clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border on Friday. Hundreds more were injured and at least 154 were hospitalized for gunshot wounds and tear gas inhalation, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The Israeli army said its troops "thwarted" a group consisting of "hundreds of rioters" that tried to storm the border fence that separates Palestinian and Israeli territories in Gaza. The crowd allegedly used grenades, firebombs and rocks while charging towards the fence east of Gaza city. Soldiers opened fire "in accordance with the rules of engagement" and halted them, Israeli officers said in a statement.

Read more: Israel confirms authenticity of video showing soldiers rejoicing after shooting Palestinian

The Friday rallies are a part of a weekly event dubbed the "Great March of Return." Palestinians have staged multiple rallies every Friday since 30 of March as a means to pressure Israel to allow Palestinians back into the territories taken by Israeli forces in 1948.

Israel has rejected their demands and warned the protesters against approaching the security fence in Gaza.

With protests repeatedly turning violent, the total death toll among Palestinians reached 45 on Friday. No Israeli casualties were reported.

Commenting on the latest deaths, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that warnings from the UN "have seemingly gone unheeded" among Israeli forces.

Israeli troops may resort to lethal force as a "last resort in response to an imminent threat of death or risk of serious injury," Al Hussein said. "It is difficult to see how tire-burning or stone-throwing, or even Molotov-cocktails thrown from a significant distance at heavily protected security forces in defensive positions can be seen to constitute such threat."

Organizers previously said protests would continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of the 1948 purge.

dj/rt (dpa, AP, AFP)