Gaza officials: Israeli fire kills 2 protesters

2018-05-15 19:18
Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza's border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new US Embassy in contested Jerusalem. (Khalil Hamra, AP)

Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza's border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new US Embassy in contested Jerusalem. (Khalil Hamra, AP)

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Jerusalem — Palestinian health officials in the Gaza Strip say two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire during protests near the border.

The shootings come amid growing international uproar over the Israeli military's use of deadly force against unarmed protesters.

Over 100 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by live fire in a series of weekly protests led by the ruling Hamas militant group.

On Monday alone, nearly 60 people were killed in the deadliest day of violence since a 2014 war.

Palestinians resumed their protests on Tuesday, but only dozens turned out. The Health Ministry says the deaths occurred in separate incidents in central Gaza.

Israel says it is defending its border and accuses Hamas of using demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks against Israeli targets.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that Monday's killing of more than 50 people on the Gaza border shows the need for a political solution to the conflict.

The UN chief said during a visit to the organization's European Union headquarters that the way out of the standoff is "a two state solution allowing Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and security together".

Guterres said it was "a terrible tragedy" and said "this only shows how important it is to have a political solution".

Chancellor Angela Merkel has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Germany feels bound by the nuclear deal with Iran — as long as Tehran upholds its side of the bargain.

US President Donald Trump announced last week that Washington was withdrawing from the 2015 accord, citing as one reason alleged evidence presented by Israel of Iran's nuclear programme.

In a phone call on Tuesday with Netanyahu, Merkel said Germany too has concerns about Iran's ballistic missile programme and its destabilising role in the region. She condemned recent Iranian attacks against Israeli positions on the Golan Heights.

Merkel also expressed concern at the violence in Gaza, but said "Germany understands Israel's security needs".

According to her office, she added that the right to peaceful protest and assembly in Gaza shouldn't be abused to provoke unrest.

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