Increase to 17 death toll in Friday protests in Gaza

Increase to 17 death toll in Friday protests in Gaza

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The Israeli body that manages the Palestinian territories indicated that there are now 26 bodies that have been held since the 2014 Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Gazakonflikt Beerdigung (picture-alliance / dpa / ZUMAPRESS)

The number of Palestinians who lost their lives in Friday’s mass protests on the Israel-Gaza border increased to 17, after the bodies of two Palestinian militants were found on Israeli territory, the competent authority in Israel said.

Israeli Minister threatens blunt action in Gaza

If the Palestinian protests persist, “we will defend ourselves,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (01.04.2018)

“They were armed with rifles and their intention was to commit a terrorist attack on Israel,” commander general Yoav Mordechai wrote on the Arabic Facebook page of the Coordination Office for Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat).

However, the Ministry of Health in the enclave maintains the official figure of 15 dead and so far has considered these two Palestinians as missing.

In Palestinian hospitals, 15 bodies had been identified so far. In addition, more than 1,400 Palestinians were injured.

Moderjai identified the dead as Masab Salul, a member of the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezedin al Qasam Brigades; and Mohammed Rabaya. 

“A common value in Judaism and Islam is to bury the dead,” he said, noting that they will not return the bodies until the Israelis held captive in Gaza are handed over for “a burial in Israel.”

Gaza |  Marsch der Rückkehr (Reuters / I. Abu Mustafa)

A Palestinian man flees during the confrontation with Israeli troops on Israel’s border with Gaza (30.03.2018).

Cogat also noted that Israel is holding another 24 bodies of Palestinians killed since the Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2014 and the destruction of a tunnel last year. To return them, Israel demands the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers and two citizens of the same nationality who remain in Gaza.

Israel delimited a zone of 300 meters from the dividing line towards the Palestinian side where it prohibits the transit and Israeli marksmen disperse the access to this area, next to which the protests of Friday were summoned.

Gaza |  Marsch der Rückkehr (Getty Images / AFP / M. Abed)

The protesters demanded what they consider is their right to return to their land (30.03.2018).

Tens of thousands of Palestinians participated on Friday in the Great Return March, to commemorate Earth Day, and according to the Army, the demonstrators threw incendiary bombs and burning tires at the soldiers before they responded with real fire, retreaded bullets and tear gas thrown from drones.

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