Israeli army kills two more Palestinians as Gaza pauses to bury the dead
The number of protesters at the Gaza frontier drops but intense clashes continue
Gaza-Israel border — Israeli forces shot dead at least two more Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border on Tuesday after thousands of Palestinians turned out for the funerals of dozens of protesters killed by Israeli troops a day earlier, local health officials said.
The number of protesters who gathered at the frontier on Tuesday was significantly lower than on Monday.
It appeared that many had gone to mourning tents rather than back to the scene of the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza war.
At least 60 Palestinians were killed on Monday, according to the Palestinian health ministry, including an eight-month-old baby who died from teargas that her family said she inhaled at a protest camp near the border. More than 2,200 Palestinians were injured by gunfire or teargas, local medics said.
The bloodshed took place as the US opened its new embassy in contested Jerusalem.
For the past six weeks, Palestinians have been holding Gaza border demonstrations for the return of Palestinian refugees to areas that are now part of Israel. Israel rejects any right of return, fearing that it would deprive the state of its Jewish majority.
Palestinian medics say 106 Gazans have now been killed since the start of the protests and nearly 11,000 people wounded, about 3,500 of them hit by live fire. Israeli officials dispute those numbers. No Israeli casualties have been reported.
Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre and the Israeli tactic of using live fire has drawn worldwide condemnation.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday on the violence, with Kuwait preparing a draft resolution to protect Palestinian civilians and the US defending ally Israel’s use of “restraint”.
Its main ally, the US, has backed that stance, with both saying that Hamas, which governs Gaza, instigated the violence, an allegation denied by the militant group.
The Israeli military said 24 of those killed on Monday were "terrorists with documented terror background" and most were active Hamas operatives.
Turkey, a strong critic of Israel’s actions in Gaza, told the Israeli ambassador in Ankara on Tuesday to leave, a Turkish foreign ministry source said. On Monday, Turkey recalled its ambassadors to Israel and US.
On Tuesday morning, mourners marched through Gaza, calling for revenge. "With souls and blood we redeem you martyrs," they shouted.
Meanwhile, France’s foreign minister warned on Tuesday that President Emmanuel Macron was prepared to respond to US moves in the Middle East.
“The situation in the Middle East is explosive, violence is doing the talking, war could loom,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament on Tuesday. “The president of the republic has decided to take all necessary political initiatives” in response, Le Drian said, without providing specifics.