Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Liberman has rejected international calls for an investigation into deadly violence along Gaza’s border with Israel, saying troops acted appropriately and fired only at Palestinian protesters who posed a threat.
Fifteen Palestinians were killed and over 700 wounded in Friday’s violence near the Israeli border.According to Palestinian health officials it was the area’s deadliest violence since a war four years ago. Human rights groups have accused the army of using excessive force, and both the U.N. secretary-general and the European Union’s foreign policy chief have urged an investigation.
On Friday mass marches were largely led by Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and touted as the launch of a six-week-long protest campaign against a stifling decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, seized control of Gaza in 2007.