Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen at Gaza protest

Relatives and friends of a Palestinian teenager who was killed near the border fence react as they mourn outside a hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 29, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2019

Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen at Gaza protest

  • At least 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly protests began in March 2018

GAZA CITY: Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager near the border fence with the Gaza Strip on Friday, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel’s military said soldiers had been fending off Palestinians who had approached and tried to sabotage its security fence. The military also said the demonstrators threw a number of explosive devices.

Residents in Gaza said a few dozen Palestinians had approached the border fence, an area in which Israel’s military, citing security concerns, enforces a “no go” zone. 

Some in the crowd hurled stones at the barrier, residents said. One 16-year-old was killed and four other people were wounded by live fire, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers had “identified a number of attempts to approach the fence as well as a number of attempts to sabotage it.”

“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and 0.22 caliber rounds,” the spokesman said. “A report regarding the death of a Palestinian is being looked into.”

Israeli soldiers have been confronted by frequent Palestinian protests that often turn violent along the Gaza border. They have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators who the military said hurled rocks or petrol bombs at them.

The organizers of those protests said they had called off this week’s mass-demonstration, but a smaller crowd still gathered.

Egypt, Qatar and the UN have been working to keep the border calm. “We are looking into information about the death of a Palestinian,” an Israeli army spokesman told AFP. 

At least 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly protests began in March 2018, more than half of them during demonstrations. Others have been killed in airstrikes or by tank fire.

The often violent protests are demanding that Israel ease its blockade of the Strip and that Palestinians be allowed to return to their ancestral homes now inside Israel.

Israel accuses Hamas of orchestrating the protests. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel accuses the coastal enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the protests and using them as cover to carry out attacks.

Haftar, Saleh in surprise Cairo visit for crisis talks on Libya

Updated 16 min 6 sec ago

Haftar, Saleh in surprise Cairo visit for crisis talks on Libya

  • The meeting in Cairo followed a surprise visit to the Egyptian capital by Haftar and Saleh on Tuesday

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday held crisis talks with the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, and parliament speaker, Aguila Saleh, on latest developments in the Libya conflict.

The meeting in Cairo followed a surprise visit to the Egyptian capital by Haftar and Saleh on Tuesday that coincided with a speech at the UN by El-Sisi in which he said Egypt would intervene if the “red line” provinces of Sirte and Jufra were crossed.

During Wednesday’s discussions in Cairo, held in the presence of Abbas Kamel, head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS), El-Sisi was briefed on efforts from all parties to implement a cease-fire and Libyan attempts to advance the peace process under the auspices of the UN.

According to media reports, Haftar, Saleh, and Egyptian officials would be reviewing military matters and progress on political initiatives.

The visit came within the framework of coordination and consultation talks on a number of issues, most notably the fight against terrorism, and Egyptian efforts to broker security and stability in Libya through political dialogue. Initiatives on Libya that took place in Geneva and Morocco, such as holding elections and forming a new government, were also likely to be on the agenda.

In June, Haftar and Saleh met with the Egyptian president and announced the Cairo Declaration for a cease-fire and resolution to the political crisis in Libya. Sources said their latest visit was to clarify Cairo’s position with international and Libyan parties, discuss a comprehensive solution to the Libyan crisis through international agreements, and smooth over any misunderstandings.

The unscheduled trip was due to recent developments in Libya and the intention of the Government of National Accord (GNA) to establish an army in Libya, the sources added.

Salah Al-Nimroush, minister of defense in the GNA which is headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, has announced the start of programs to build and develop his government’s army with the help of Turkey.

He also said that a military training center had been set up in the suburbs of the Libyan capital and that the priority was to build the army, according to international standards, with the young support force that participated in the defense of Tripoli.

As well as security, the subject of Libyan oil was up for discussion with the Egyptian authorities.

Last week, the Libyan army announced its agreement to reopen oil fields and resume exports on condition that guarantees were made for the fair distribution of oil revenues and the prevention of their use for funding terrorism and fueling corruption.

In a speech addressed to Libyans, Haftar said that the General Command of the army would not hesitate to make concessions as long as they were in the interests of the Libyan people, with the aim of preventing further deterioration of the economic situation in the country.