Gazans bury dead after bloodiest day of Israel border protests

Monday's violence on the border was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict.

By REUTERS
May 15, 2018 13:46
2 minute read.
Gazans bury dead after bloodiest day of Israel border protests

A relative of Palestinian Ahmed al-Rantisi, who was killed during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, is consoled at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

 
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GAZA - Palestinians rallied in Gaza on Tuesday for the funerals of scores of people killed by Israeli troops a day earlier, while on the Gaza-Israel border, Israeli forces took up positions to deal with the expected final day of a Palestinian protest campaign.

Monday's violence on the border, which took place as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict.

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The death toll rose to 60 overnight after an eight-month-old baby died from tear gas that her family said she inhaled at a protest camp on Monday. More than 2,200 Palestinians were also injured by gunfire or tear gas.

Thousands of mourners attended funeral rallies on Tuesday morning, many waving Palestinian flags and some calling for revenge.
Tension on the Israel-Gaza border as the US embassy is moved to Jerusalem, May 14, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

"With souls and blood we redeem you martyrs," mourners shouted as they walked in the funeral of two Palestinians in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

In Gaza City, hundreds marched in the funeral of eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour, whose body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

"Let her stay with me, It is too early for her to go," her mother cried, pressing the baby's body to her chest.

Speaking at a Gaza hospital earlier, her grandmother said the child was at one of the tented protest encampments that have been set up a few hundred yards inside the border.

"We were at the tent camp east of Gaza when the Israelis fired lots of tear gas," Heyam Omar said.

"When we got back home, the baby stopped crying and I thought she was asleep. I took her to the children's hospital and the doctor told me she was martyred (dead)."

Palestinian leaders have called Monday's events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.
Turkey's Erdogan equates deadly Gaza violence to 'genocide,' May 14, 2018 (Reuters)

Israel has said it is acting in self-defense to defend its borders and communities. Its main ally the United States has backed that stance, with both saying that Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the coastal enclave, instigated the violence.

There were fears of further bloodshed on Tuesday as Palestinians planned a further protest to mark the "Nakba," or "Catastrophe."

A six-week campaign of border protests dubbed "The Great March of Return" has revived calls for refugees to have the right of return to their former lands, which now lie inside Israel.

It was unclear whether large crowds would turn up at the border on Tuesday for the climax to the campaign after the heavy fatalities suffered on Monday.

Palestinian medical officials say that 104 Gazans have now died since the start of the protests on March 30. No Israeli casualties have been reported.

Israeli troops deployed along the border again on Tuesday. The area was relatively quiet early in the day, with many Gazans at the funerals. Protesters are expected to go to the border later.

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