Gaza unrest: Eight children among the dead in clashes; France, Britain urges to maintain peace

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 14, 2018, 10:41 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Eight children under the age of 16 were among the people died in Gaza border clash Palestinian envoy told United Nations on Monday.

Violent clashes erupted on Monday as the US officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem even tens of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated throughout the Gaza strip marking the bloodiest day in years since 2014 Gaza war.

According to a report by news agency AFP, 52 people have been killed in the clashes by Israeli forces. More than 2,400 were also reported to be wounded, the health ministry said.

Though the protests ended on the evening of the day, however, fresh protests are expected on Tuesday.

The Monday's Gaza violence received criticism from international media while world leaders urged to maintain peace.

British Prime Minister, Thersa May's spokesperson said, "We are concerned by the reports of violence and loss of life in Gaza. We urge calm and restraint to avoid actions destructive to peace efforts," the spokesman said, adding that the embassy move was "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region," AFP reported as saying.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also called all parties to "act responsibly to prevent a new flare-up" in an official statement.

The statement reads, "France calls again for Israeli authorities to act with caution and restraint in the use of force, which must be strictly proportional, adding, It stresses the duty to protect civilians, in particular minors, and Palestinians' right to protest peacefully."

Amid leaders around the world came forward and condemned the killings at Gaza, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also offered assurances of Washington's commitment to maintaining Middle East peace, however, he did not mention anything regarding the deadly violence.

"We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

The protests at Gaza border began on March 30 as Palestinians marched towards Gaza border for what they called "The Great March of Return". These protests are continuing for the sixth week now.

Gathered in thousands of number, demonstrators are demanding access to their families' lost homes or lands which are now in Israel. Two-thirds of the two million Palestinians in Gaza are war refugees or their descendants.

Palestinians have accused Israeli forces of using tear gas and guns as they targeted protestors. However, Israel says its troops have used live ammunition to prevent a border fence from being damaged or breached.

The death toll has gained attention from worldwide media. Israeli forces were also criticised for using live ammunition at protestors. However,  Israeli authorities accused Gaza's ruling Hamas movement of instigating violence.

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