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Gaza begins to bury its dead after deadliest day in years

Written by  May 15, 2018
Funerals were held on Tuesday in Gaza for 58 Palestinians reported killed on Monday when Israeli troops opened fire during protests, in the deadliest day of violence there since a war in 2014. Another death was reported on Tuesday - a 51-year-old man - but calm mostly prevailed as the dead were buried. Israel has faced international condemnation over the deaths, from the UN, UK, France, Russia and others. Israel has defended its actions, and the US has voiced its support. Monday's violence came as the US inaugurated its first embassy in Jerusalem, a controversial step by the Trump administration that broke with decades of US policy and incensed Palestinians. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Many see the US move as backing Israeli control over the whole of the city, which Israel regards as its indivisible capital. Donald Trump's decision to relocate the embassy, announced in December, fuelled anger in Islamist-ruled Gaza, which is economically impoverished and under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Israel and Egypt say it is for their self-defence. For seven weeks, protesters have gathered on the Gaza side of the border with Israel, with scores of deaths over that period before the violence ratcheted this week. Among the dead on Monday were eight children under the age of 16, including a baby of eight months, Layila al-Ghandour, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. At least 2,700 were reported injured. No Israelis were reported killed or injured. Many of the dead and wounded in Gaza were hit by sniper-fire, the health ministry said. Israeli troops opened fire as protesters pushed towards the border fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel. Israel said its soldiers fired only at "targets of terrorist activity". UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that Israel's use of force was "not acceptable". "The mere fact of approaching a fence is not a lethal, life-threatening act, so that does not warrant being shot," he said. "It seems that anyone is liable to be shot dead," he added, stressing that international law makes it clear that "lethal force may only be used as a measure of last, not first, resort." Source: BBC

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