Israeli gunfire kills 4 more as Gaza protest resumes

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A protester is hit in the face with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops at the Gaza border on Friday. (Reuters)
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Palestinian medic rushes to a a protester who got shot in his mouth by a teargas canister fired by Israeli troops near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of the city of Khan Younis. (AP)
Updated 09 June 2018

Israeli gunfire kills 4 more as Gaza protest resumes

  • More than 100 of the wounded, including a photographer for the French news agency Agence Press France, were hit by live fire
  • Israeli forces have killed at least 128 Palestinians in protests along the border since a campaign was launched on March 30

GAZA: Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas as thousands of Palestinians protested near the Gaza border fence Friday, and at least four demonstrators were killed, including a teenage boy, with over 600 wounded, Gaza health officials said.

More than 100 of the wounded, including a photographer for the French news agency Agence Press France, were hit by live fire, the officials added, as the demonstrators burned tires, threw stones and flew flaming kites in the latest in a series of mass protests. 

Israeli forces have killed at least 128 Palestinians in protests along the border since a campaign was launched on March 30 to demand the right to return to ancestral lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its creation, hospital officials say.

Late Friday, Israel said Gaza militants opened fire and struck an Israeli military post. No injuries were reported.

The march coincided with the annual “Jerusalem Day,” instituted by Iran to protest Israeli rule of the holy city. 

In the capitals of Iran and Iraq, thousands of people marked Jerusalem Day with protests, with some chanting “Death to Israel” or burning Israeli flags and effigies of President Donald Trump.

Among the dead Friday was 15-year-old Haitham Al-Jamal. His family said he was taking part in a protest in Rafah, in southern Gaza, when he was shot. A total of 12 children under age 16 have been killed in the protests.

French news agency Agence France Press said one of its photographers, Mohammed Abed Al-Baba, was wounded at a mass rally after Israeli forces opened fire. AFP said Al-Baba was wearing a press vest and helmet about 200 meters from the border when hurt.

It said he was wounded below the knee while trying to take a photo of a wounded protester after Israeli troops opened fire. The photographer’s injury was not life-threatening, but he was to undergo surgery.

After Friday prayers, Israeli troops fired volleys of tear gas, including from drones, that sent protesters running for cover. One man with a bullhorn shouted, “America is the biggest evil.”

At one point, seven activists in black-and-white striped shirts meant to resemble concentration camp uniforms from World War II approached the fence. 

“We want to remind the world that the Israeli occupation is committing the same massacres that the Nazis committed,” said activist Ahmed Abu Artima.


Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

Israeli border policemen take up position during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators at a protest against Trump's decision on Jerusalem, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 January 2020

Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

  • The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property

JERUSALEM: Israeli police launched a manhunt on Friday after an apparent arson attack, accompanied by Hebrew-language graffiti, at a mosque in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
“Police were summoned to a mosque in Beit Safafa, in Jerusalem, following a report of arson in one of the building’s rooms and spraying of graffiti on a nearby wall outside the building,” a police statement said.
“A wide-scale search is taking place in Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “We believe that the incident took place overnight. We are searching for suspects.”
The spokesman would not say if police viewed it as a hate crime. The graffiti, on a wall in the mosque compound and viewed by an AFP journalist, contained the name Kumi Ori, a small settlement outpost in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Times of Israel newspaper said on Friday that the wildcat outpost “is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens.”
“Earlier this month security forces razed a pair of illegally built settler homes in the outpost,” it reported.
All settlements on occupied Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.
The paper said: “A number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and (Israeli) security forces.”
Police said that nobody was injured in the mosque incident.
The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property in revenge for nationalistic attacks against Israelis or Israeli government moves against unauthorized outposts like Kumi Ori.
“This is price tag,” Israeli Arab lawmaker Osama Saadi told AFP at the scene.
“The settlers didn’t only write words, they also burned the place and they burnt a Qur’an,” said Saadi, who lives in the area.
Ismail Awwad, the local mayor, said he called the police after he found apparent evidence of arson, pointing to an empty can he said had contained petrol or some other accelerant and scorch marks in the burned room.
“The fire in the mosque burned in many straight lines which is a sign that somebody poured inflammable material,” he said.
There was damage to an interior prayer room but the building’s structure was unharmed.
In December, more than 160 cars were vandalized in the Shuafaat neighborhood of east Jerusalem with anti-Arab slogans scrawled nearby.
The slogans read “Arabs=enemies,” “There is no room in the country for enemies” and “When Jews are stabbed we aren’t silent.”
The attackers were described by a local resident as “masked settlers.”