Four Palestinians killed in clashes at Gaza border


Erekat also accused Israel of murdering 15-year-old Palestinian Mohammad Ayoub during last Friday's rally in the Gaza Strip, saying "what is required is an investigation by Fatou Bensouda, the Attorney General of the International Criminal Court, instead of an internal probe by Israeli army". Another 729 people were reported injured. "Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it", said the leaflets scattered by Israeli aircraft in areas along the border.

"For the fourth consecutive week, Israel continues the excessive and lethal use of force against Palestinians participating in the nonviolent Great March of Return, especially in the Gaza Strip", Mansour said, "Israel is shooting Palestinian women, children and the elderly, and is escalating its violations against them".

The IDF has responded to the demonstrations, which include burning tires, throwing rocks, and attacks on the border fence, by firing live bullets, rubber bullets, and dropping and firing tear gas at people behind the border fence.

Slamming Israel for its conduct during the protest, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov said: "It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children!"

The Gaza Health Ministry says 445 Palestinians have been wounded in protests on the Gaza-Israel border, including 96 who were wounded by Israeli army fire.

It accuses Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.

The Ministry stated that eighteen of the wounded Palestinians were shot in the neck and head, 26 in the chest and back, twelve in the pelvis and abdomen, and 154 were shot in their legs.

An Israeli military spokeswoman would not comment on whether an investigation had been opened.

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In a tweet, United Nations envoy to the Middle East Nikolay Mladenov called the killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy during Friday's clashes along the Gaza border "outrageous" and demanded that the incident be investigated.

But the outcome was still deadly, and the victims this time included a 15-year-old boy. Another 440 protesters were wounded, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Mansour noted several Arab member states' rejection of Israel launching its own investigation, as it can not be "credible", and reiterated his call for an "independent, unbiased" probe. It did not provide details about the circumstances of Friday's shooting, which came as Palestinians were gathering for a fourth weekly mass protest on the border.

On Friday, protesters began gathering at sit-in protest camps near the border.

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' Gaza chief, told a protesting crowd near the Israeli border that they would "march on Jerusalem". "Several kites crossed into Israel and were extinguished when required". The Palestinians say the rising casualty toll signals that Israel's military is sticking to its open-fire rules against the protesters despite worldwide criticism of the use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.

The protests are expected to peak in mid-May when, according to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the Gaza scenes would be replicated elsewhere on Israel's frontiers.

Yesterday's protest was dubbed "Friday of Kites", with protests flying messages to Israel on the border.