Israeli army wound 130 Palestinians at Gaza border protest

Frederick Owens
October 21, 2018

The marches in eastern Gaza Strip came following marathon visits of Egyptian security intelligence mediators to the coastal enclave to hold talks with Hamas over defusing tension with Israel.

Euro-Med also called on "all parties concerned to exert pressure on Israel to lift its blockade affecting every aspect of Gaza's largely civilian population".

Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group quickly denied firing the rockets.

Mladenov addressed the Security Council to review the new escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, where on Wednesday Israel staged about 20 airstrikes in reprisal for the launching of rockets from the Palestinian enclave.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza claimed 130 Palestinians were wounded in the disturbances.

Most other members of the Security Cabinet, however, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reportedly want to avoid a broader military operation.

Mladenov emphasized that there is a clear and growing global consensus about the need to act to respond to the situation, above all with humanitarian initiatives, adding that reducing the humanitarian pressure on the ground will directly reduce the threat of escalation and provide space for efforts led by Egypt to return the legitimate Palestinian government to Gaza, which is now under the control of the Islamist Hamas movement.

A spokesman for the Israeli military said that about 10 thousand demonstrators gathered on the border between Gaza and Israel.

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Euro-Med said in a statement "The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor calls on the global community to exert serious pressure to put an end to the targeting of Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip and to protect their right to peaceful assembly".

Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement MP, Mustafa Barghouti, warned of serious intentions to launch a devastating aggression on the Gaza Strip, by Israeli forces.

In a related development, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, threatened on Thursday to respond to any Israeli attack on Gaza.

Israeli sharpshooters fired on protesters who attempted to breach the border fence. Palestinians take part in the Friday demonstrations to secure their right of return to their homeland.

During the protests the "Great March of return", began on March 30, Israeli soldiers killed at least 204 Palestinians.

He cited World Bank figures showing official unemployment at 53 percent, with more than 70 percent of Palestinian youths jobless. An Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Israeli forces showered the demonstrators with tear gas and occasionally live fire. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's Mideast peace envoy, earlier urged Israel and the Palestinians to exercise restraint ahead of the protests.

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