Israeli airstrike on Gaza border kills Palestinian
The fatalities bring to 21 the number of people killed in confrontations in the volatile area over the past week.
A new round of protests along the border is expected on Friday, raising the prospect of further bloodshed.
The protest march last week, largely organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, had been billed as the first of several weeks of intermittent protests against a stifling decade-old Israeli blockade.
Hamas leaders have portrayed the final protest, set for May 15, as the “Great March of Return” of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, implying they would try to enter Israeli territory. But they have stopped short of specifically threatening a mass breach of the border fence.
The Israeli military has said it will not allow anyone to breach the border fence and has beefed up forces in the area, with snipers and other special units. The military was on high alert ahead of Friday.
Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N.’s Mideast envoy, urged both sides to show caution on April 6.
“Israeli forces should exercise maximum restraint and Palestinians should avoid friction at the Gaza fence,” he said.
“Demonstrations and protests must be allowed to proceed in a peaceful manner,” he added. “Civilians, particularly children, must not be intentionally put in danger or targeted in any way.”
In the latest violence, the military said an aircraft had targeted an “armed terrorist adjacent to the security fence” in northern Gaza early in the morning. The Gaza Health Ministry confirmed the man’s death but did not immediately release his identity.
It also confirmed the death of a man who was wounded in last Friday’s protests. Hundreds more were wounded by live fire last week, according to Palestinian health officials. Of the 21 dead so far, 15 were killed during border protests, and videos and witness accounts indicate that most were not armed or carrying out attacks at the moment they were killed.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ on April 5 called on Israel to end the “disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians” in the Gaza Strip.
In a series of tweets, Bozdağ said Israel was conducting “a civilian massacre.”
“The Israeli government should immediately put an end to the use of disproportionate force, attack and massacre of civilians and innocents,” he tweeted.
He criticized countries and international organizations for staying silent on the brutality, massacre and human rights violations carried out by Israel.
“We have seen how the countries and international organizations [...] have kept silent when massacres, human rights violations, the killing of civilians, innocent people and law are being committed by Israel,” he said.
All of these terms were just “a mask to cover their real faces… The mask has been lifted,” Bozdağ said.