Gaza tense after deadliest day since 2014

Published: 15 May 2018   

Online Desk

Protesters run for cover from tear gas dispersed from Israeli drones

Funerals are being held in Gaza for 58 people killed on Monday when Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian protesters, in the deadliest day of violence there since a war in 2014.

The burials coincide with the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba - a mass displacement of Palestinians after Israel's creation.

Israel's military said it was preparing for further confrontations on Tuesday.

But Palestinian groups indicated they intended to rein in the protests, BBC reports. 

Monday's violence came as the US inaugurated its first embassy in Jerusalem, a controversial move that broke with decades of US policy and incensed Palestinians.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and see the US move as backing Israeli control over the whole of the city - which Israel regards as its indivisible capital.

Palestinian officials said that, as well as those killed, about 2,700 people were injured in Monday's violence - which they condemned as a massacre.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said his military was acting in self-defence against Gaza's Islamist rulers, Hamas, who he said wanted to destroy Israel.

But the United Nations human rights office was was heavily critical of Israel's use of force.

"The mere fact of approaching a fence is not a lethal, life-threatening act, so that does not warrant being shot," spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

"How much threat can a double amputee be making from the other side of a large fortified fence?" he added.

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