UN calls on Israel and Hamas to prevent further deaths

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JERUSALEM, Sept 29, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The UN called Saturday for Israel
and Hamas rulers to rein in violence a day after border clashes in which the
Gaza health ministry said seven Palestinians were killed.

“I am deeply saddened by reports that seven Palestinians, including two
children, were killed, and hundreds of others injured, by Israeli forces
during demonstrations in the Gaza Strip yesterday (Friday),” the UN’s
humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Jamie McGoldrick,
said in a statement.

“I call on Israel, Hamas and all other actors with the ability to influence
the situation, to take action now to prevent further deterioration and loss
of life.”

Two boys aged 12 and 14, were among those killed in the clashes Friday,
the bloodiest day of border protests since May 14, when more than 60
Palestinians died in violence accompanying the inauguration of the US embassy
in Jerusalem, a move that enraged Palestinians.

The Israeli army said in a statement Saturday that some 20,000 “rioters
and demonstrators” had gathered at multiple sites along the Gaza-Israel
border and that people had hurled “over 100” grenades and explosive devices
at troops and the at the border fence.

The military said troops fired “in accordance with standard operating
procedures” and that Israeli aircraft also struck two positions belonging
Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

“Hamas is responsible for the violent riots and their consequences,” it
said.

It declined to comment directly on Friday’s reported deaths.

Palestinians have been protesting almost weekly along the Gaza border since
March 30 in what they call the “Great March of Return”.

At least 193 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since then, the
majority during border protests, while one Israeli soldier has been shot dead
by a Palestinian sniper.

“I call on Israeli forces to ensure that their use of force is in line with
their obligations under international law,” McGoldrick said.

“All actors must ensure that children never be the target of violence and
neither be put at risk of violence, nor encouraged to participate in
violence.”

In Saturday’s statement the Israeli army said Hamas was “endangering
children by sending them to the security fence as a cover for terror
activity”.

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