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Israeli jets target Gaza position after alleged ‘infiltration attempt’

Move comes after Israeli occupation forces kill 31 Palestinians in 10 days of protest

By AFP - Apr 09,2018 - Last updated at Apr 09,2018

Palestinians carry the body of Marwan Qudeih, who was killed by Israeli occupation forces during the ‘Great March of Return’ near Gaza-Israel border, during his funeral ceremony at Al Taqwa Mosque in the Khoza'a town of Khan Younis, Gaza, on Monday (Anadolu Agency photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli fighter jets targeted a Hamas "military target" in northern Gaza on Monday in response to Palestinians allegedly “infiltrating the border and laying bombs” the previous day, Tel Aviv said.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said the Israeli strikes hit a base in Jabalia belonging to Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, and farmland near Beit Lahiya, causing damages but no injuries.

The border fence between the besieged Palestinian enclave and Israel has become the backdrop of mass Gaza demonstrations where Israeli occupation forces have used live fire and killed 31 Palestinians, one of which was a journalist, according to Gaza's health ministry.

No Israelis have been injured during the demonstrations. Israeli has faced mounting questions over its use of live fire after ten days of protests along the Gaza Strip border.

On Monday, the Gaza health ministry said Marwan Qudeih, 45, who was wounded by Israeli fire east of Khan Younis on March 30, died of his wounds.

Israel says it opens fire “when necessary to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attempted attacks”.

It alleges Hamas, the Islamist resistance movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, is seeking to use the protests as “cover to carry out violence”.

"The IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] views with great severity the Hamas terror organisation endeavours to turn the security fence parameter into a combat zone while attempting to damage security and defence infrastructure," the army said in its Monday statement.

On Sunday, the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was opening a preliminary probe to determine whether there was enough evidence to launch a full-blown investigation into any alleged crimes committed by Israel.

Also on Sunday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there were “no naive people” in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

“There are no naive people in the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman told Israel’s public radio.

“Everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists,” he claimed.

Lieberman used a Hebrew word that can also be translated as “innocent”, as AFP and other news media initially quoted him as saying. His office later insisted that his “intended meaning” was “naive”.

His statement comes after fresh violence on Friday when nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces during border protests.

Lieberman seemed to suggest a journalist killed by occupation forces during the demonstrations on Friday was using a drone when he was killed, but two people who said they were with him rejected it.

“We know that in many instances Hamas has used journalists and the media and the Red Crescent and ambulances to carry out terror activities,” Lieberman alleged.

“Whoever flies a drone over [Israeli] forces, over our soldiers — we won’t take any chances.”

The journalist, Yasser Murtaja, 30, had been known to use a drone for photos and video, but two journalists who were with him said he had not been using it on Friday. 

Ashraf Abu Amra and Hosam Salem both said he was a couple of hundred metres from the border when he was shot. 

“He was using a normal video camera all day,” Abu Amra said.

An AFP photo taken after he was wounded showed Murtaja wearing a press vest as he received treatment.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate said that a total of six journalists were hit by gunfire on Friday.

Israeli occupation forces claimed they “do not intentionally target journalists”.

Rights groups have harshly criticised Israel’s actions, and Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to heavily armed troops.

On Saturday, the European Union raised questions over whether Israeli troops engaged in “proportionate use of force”.

The European Union and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation into the violence, which Israel has rejected.



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