UN calls on Israel and Hamas to prevent further deaths

A Palestinian woman waves a national flag near burning tyres during clashes along the Israeli border fence, east of Gaza City on September 28, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 29 September 2018
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UN calls on Israel and Hamas to prevent further deaths

JERUSALEM: 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".


Dozens of migrants refuse to leave container ship in Libya

Updated 23 min 30 sec ago
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Dozens of migrants refuse to leave container ship in Libya

  • Loaded with cars, the ship Nivin was already bound for Misrata when it picked up 93 migrants in a foundering raft in the Mediterranean Sea late on Friday
  • The ship’s cargo of cars was peacefully unloaded, but the migrants remained unmoved

MISRATA: Dozens of migrants have barricaded themselves in a container ship in the Libyan port city of Misrata for the past five days, after being picked up at sea, and refuse to disembark, saying Libya is too dangerous for them.
Loaded with cars, the ship Nivin was already bound for Misrata when it picked up 93 migrants in a foundering raft in the Mediterranean Sea late on Friday and continued toward its destination. Two of the migrants agreed to leave with the Libyan coast guard, but the others refused, saying Libya was deadly for migrants and they wanted to go to Europe.
They have been in the Misrata port ever since, with the captain and crew taking refuge on the upper decks.
One of the migrants, a man from South Sudan reached by The Associated Press on the ship, vowed on Wednesday to reach Europe or die trying. He said six commercial ships passed his group before the Nivin finally stopped.
Libya’s coast guard had no immediate comment on the situation.
With just one rescue ship patrolling the Mediterranean, and European ports refusing to take in rescued migrants, commercial ships have become increasingly leery of picking up people in the sea. Repeatedly in recent months, they have found themselves caught in the middle between governments hostile to new migrants and an obligation under international maritime law to save
The man, who identified himself only by his name, Victor, fearing for his safety, said he himself had already been imprisoned repeatedly in Libya and that his own brother had died there. He had no intention of returning, he said.
“We don’t want to go out in Libya,” he told The Associated Press. “You can come and take my dead body outside.”
Julien Raickman, who is the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Libya, said Europe’s policy of refusing to take in rescued migrants has led to a spike in deaths. Now one in five who cross perish at sea, he said.
Raickman said the Libyan coast guard has given international organizations access to the migrants, who have food and some degree of medical care now, but no toilets or other sanitary facilities. The ship’s cargo of cars was peacefully unloaded, but the migrants remained unmoved.
“We’re afraid that this dispute will end in violence. The people who are on board are determined. They know that they went far and could face charges for taking control of a boat,” he said. “But these are people motivated by despair.”