Gaza death toll rises to 18 after Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces: Ministry

AFP , Tuesday 3 Apr 2018

Palestinian protesters, Gaza
Palestinian protesters carry a man shot by the Israeli forces during clashes on April 2, 2018 (Photo: AFP)

A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces on the Gaza border Tuesday, the health ministry in the strip said, as tensions remained days after 17 people were killed when a mass demonstration led to clashes.

The ministry identified the dead man as 25-year-old Ahmed Arafa, saying he was shot in the chest during clashes east of Bureij in central Gaza.

The Israeli army said it was looking into the incident and could not immediately comment.

It was the first death since at least 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops on Friday when a protest by tens of thousands of people resulted in clashes.

It was the deadliest day since the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.

Smaller protests have continued since, with thousands expected to take to the streets again on Friday.

Israel's use of live fire has come under criticism from rights groups, while the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

But earlier Tuesday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a new warning, saying those who approach the fence between Gaza and Israel will put "their life in danger."

Israel has defended its soldiers' actions on Friday, saying they opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

It said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was also an attempted gun attack against soldiers along the border.

Palestinians say protesters were fired on while posing no threat to soldiers.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday said Friday's killings were unlawful and "calculated," also saying the border protests posed no immediate threat to Israeli soldiers.

In addition to the 17 Palestinians killed, more than 1,400 were wounded Friday, 757 of them by live fire, with the remainder hurt by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation, the health ministry in Gaza said.

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