Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in Gaza border clashes

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Palestinians flee from tear gas during a protest by the barbed-wire fence with Israel east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. (AFP)
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Palestinians protest with Palestinian flags by the border fence with Israel east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. (AFP)
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Palestinians flee from tear gas during a protest by the barbed-wire fence with Israel east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. (AFP)
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An Israeli soldier looks through the scope of his rifle behind a barbed-wire fence during a protest by Palestinians by the border with Israel east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 24 March 2019
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Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in Gaza border clashes

Gaza City: Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in renewed clashes along the Gaza border Friday, the health ministry in the enclave said.
The clashes took place a week before the first anniversary of the weekly protests, when organisers have pledged larger than usual demonstrations.
Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra told AFP the two men, aged 18 and 29, were shot in separate incidents along the fractious border.
The teenager was shot in the head east of Gaza City, while the older man was hit in the chest near the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, Qudra told AFP.
He did not name them but said at least 55 other people were shot.
The Israeli army did not comment on the deaths but said "approximately 9,500 rioters and demonstrators" gathered in various locations, "hurling explosive devices, hard objects and rocks" at troops.
Troops were "firing in accordance with standard operating procedures," a spokeswoman said.
At least 257 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests began on March 30 2018.
Most have been killed during protests, though others have died in airstrikes and by tank fire.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed.
The often violent protests are demanding Palestinian refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to former homes now inside Israel.
Israeli officials say that amounts to calling for the Jewish state's destruction, and accuse Hamas of orchestrating the protests.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.