United States blocks UN Security Council statement on Gaza violence

Mohammed Najjar, 25, was shot in the stomach during a clash in east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, while Mahmoud Muammar, 38, and Mohammed Abu Omar, 22, were both shot dead in Rafah, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Friday's protest was the largest protest seen in Gaza in years. Israel has no official death toll figures. "People coming towards the fence, attempting to penetrate and break into the fence, damaging the infrastructure or using that area as a staging ground could potentially be shot", said Lt Col Peter Lerner, of the Israel Defense Forces.

It also alleges there were efforts to damage the fortified fence cutting off the blockaded Gaza Strip and to infiltrate Israel, as well as an attempted shooting at soldiers.

Fifteen Palestinians were killed and more than 700 wounded in Friday's violence near the Israeli border, according to Palestinian health officials. These figures could not be independently verified. They said he did not belong to an armed faction. No casualties were reported among Israelis. The army in response accused Hamas of editing and/or fabricating its videos.

At Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, administrative workers at the reception showed computer records that listed 283 people admitted with injuries sustained in the border demonstrations.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called for an independent inquiry into Friday's violence.

Meshaal said that Israel had prevented weapons from reaching the West Bank, only to get car-ramming and stabbing attacks.

Israel said it had directed fire at "suspicious figures near the border fence", though he was killed more than a kilometer away from it. Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since Hamas - an Islamic militant group sworn to Israel's destruction - seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says Hamas is using the protests to deflect frustration among Gaza's two million inhabitants over deepening economic hardship.

That comes a day after 15 Palestinians were killed by live fire from the Israeli military during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest along the border, making it the "bloodiest day" in Gaza since 2014.

The Israeli cabinet has made a decision to beef up military deployments, including over 100 snipers, and use live fire and shoot-to-kill orders "if Palestinians breach (or approach)" the border fence.

Demonstrators want Palestinian refugees to be allowed the right of return to towns and villages their families left when Israel was created in 1948.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is holding a photograph with Palestinian boy Mohammed Ayyash, whose picture became a symbol of the "March of Return".

More violence is feared in upcoming key dates. The rallies were the beginning of a six-week protest that culminates May 15 - the day Palestinians call Nakba, or Catastrophe, when Israel was founded.

Danon claimed Kuwait intentionally called for the session as Israel's UN Mission was observing Passover, thus barring their participation while they observed a religious holiday. Tens of thousands of people have now evacuated once-bustling towns in the suburbs east of the capital, which had almost 2 million people before the start of the conflict and were major commercial and industrial hubs.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas, and tensions have been building again in recent months, as rocket fire from Gaza became more frequent following the announcement by President Trump that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"France also highlights the Palestinians' right to peacefully demonstrate", she added.

  • Leroy Wright