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Israeli Forces Kill 55 Palestinian Protesters In Gaza As US Embassy Officially Moves To Jerusalem

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 15 , 2018 , 11:36 IST

Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55 Palestinians, injuring 1,200 others on Monday during mass protests along the Gaza border, on the same day that Israel and US inaugurated the new American Embassy in the contested city of Jerusalem. The shooting marked the deadliest day of cross-border violence since the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.

US President Donald Trump's announcement of December 2017 that the US would be shifting its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem increased tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis since the ancient city is claimed by both.

A US-delegation of Trump’s son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser Jared Kushner, his wife (Trump's daughter) Ivanka Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and four Republican senators attended the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

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Meanwhile, Gaza protestors throughout the day set tires ablaze and hurled firebombs and stones towards Israeli troops across the border. The Israeli military alleged that the Hamas group was attempting to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of protests and attacked the protesters with tear gas and sniper fire.

At the US Embassy inauguration ceremony in Jerusalem, Kushner blamed the Gaza protesters.

“As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” said Kushner.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the military action at the Gaza strip.

"Every country has an obligation to defend its borders. The Hamas terrorist organisation declares its intention to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal. We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and our citizens," said PM Netanyahu.

According to an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman, the Israeli soldiers fired on those engaged in "terrorist activity and not on demonstrators, who were dispersed by usual means such as tear gas and according to the rules of engagement".

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced a 3 day-mourning period, calling the death of the 55 protesters a massacre.

"Today once again, the massacres against our people continue," said Abbas.