Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians in Gaza protests: medics

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinian protesters during a demonstration along the Israeli fence East of Gaza City on September 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians in Gaza protests: medics

GAZA CITY:  Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians and wounded at least 30 others taking part on Friday in weekly protests at the fortified Gaza Strip border, Palestinian medical officials said.
The Israeli military said it used force necessary to prevent border breaches by some 12,000 Palestinians who massed at several points near the fence, some of them hurling rocks and firebombs at troops under cover of smoke from burning tyres.
Friday's dead, one of them a boy whom medics said appeared to be around 14 years old, brought to 177 the number of Palestinians killed since the sometimes violent protests were launched on March 30 to press several demands against Israel.
The period has also seen occasional shelling exchanges between Hamas and Israel. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper and Israel has lost tracts of forest and farmland to cross-border incendiary attacks.
Israel's tactics against the protests have drawn foreign condemnation, though Washington has backed its ally in accusing Hamas of staging the mass-mobilisation to distract from Gaza's poverty and governance problems and to provide cover for armed Palestinian border incursions. Hamas has denied this.
The Israeli military said that, twice this week, its patrols discovered and dismantled bombs that had been planted for use against them at the fence. Early on Friday, several Palestinians crawled to the fence to throw a pipebomb at troops, who fired back, the military said. There was no word of casualties.
The protesters want rights to lands Palestinians lost during the 1948 war of Israel's foundation, as well as the easing of a crippling blockade that Israel, with the help of neighbouring Egypt, has placed on Gaza to isolate Hamas and deny it weaponry.
UN and Egyptian mediators have been trying to reach a deal to calm Gaza, where Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the last decade. The brokering efforts have been complicated by Hamas's feuding with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has restricted funding to the coastal strip.


UK to send third warship HMS Duncan to Gulf

Updated 7 min 16 sec ago
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UK to send third warship HMS Duncan to Gulf

LONDON: Britain will send a third Royal Navy warship to the Gulf, the defense ministry announced Tuesday, while insisting that it did not “reflect an escalation” of tensions with Iran in the region.
Britain has already sent the HMS Duncan, an air defense destroyer, to cover for frigate HMS Montrose while it undergoes maintenance in nearby Bahrain, and will also send frigate HMS Kent “later this year.”
Reports said it would head to the Gulf in mid-September.
HMS Montrose last week warned off three Iranian gunboats that UK officials said were trying to “impede” the progress of a British supertanker through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.
The defense ministry said the HMS Kent would be “taking over” from HMS Duncan, but added that an “occasional overlap of ships when one deployment begins and another ends... is not uncommon,” suggesting that all three could be in the region at some point.
The ministry said the deployments were “long-planned” to ensure “an unbroken presence” in the crucial waterway and “do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region.”
Iranian officials have denied last Wednesday’s incident in the Strait of Hormuz ever happened.
The British government has in any case raised the alert level for ships traveling through Iranian waters to three on a three-point scale, indicating a “critical” threat.
HMS Duncan is an air defense destroyer that carries a set of heavy Harpoon anti-ship missiles and has a company and crew in excess of 280.
Tensions have been escalating in the region for weeks, with US President Donald Trump last month calling off at the last minute an air strike on Iran over its downing of a US spy drone.
The Strait of Hormuz episode occurred a week after UK Royal Marines helped the Gibraltar authorities detain an Iranian tanker that US officials believe was trying to deliver oil to Syria in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.
Iran has bristled at the arrest and issued a series of increasingly ominous warnings to both the United States and Britain about its right to take unspecified actions in reprisal.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt sought to ease tensions on Monday by saying the tanker would be released if Tehran guaranteed it was not heading to Syria.