Israel threatens to bomb Gaza 'just to reassure settlers'


Approximately 20,000 protesters surged the Gaza border on Friday in the second week of what has been deemed the "March of Return" protests to mark Palestinians displacement from their homes amid Israel's creation in 1948.

Since the rallies kicked off one week ago, at least 21 Gazans have been killed - and more than 1,500 injured - by cross-border Israeli army gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Murtaja, is the co-founder of Ain Media production company, which has produced work for Al Jazeera Documentaries, BBC Arabic, VICE, Alaraby TV, UNICEF, UNRWA and Oxfam amongst others, Middle East Monitor reported. "I knew it was a bad injury and people carried him away", Mr Abu Amra said. Israel denies intentionally targeting the well-known journalist, while admitting using live ammunition in several cases when attempts to breach the border fence were detected.

Israel's army declined to comment, saying it was reviewing the incident.

His body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag, with a press flak jacket placed on his stomach.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniya attended the protest, believed to be the primary time he had gone so near the border in years.

The Israeli military has said it fired only at "instigators" involved in attacks on soldiers and was investigating Murtaja's death amid a very hectic environment.

A video journalist is amongst those killed, with at least 200 people thought to have been injured.

Gaza's health ministry announced Saturday that two more men had died, including a journalist who was wearing a vest marked "PRESS" when he was targeted by Israeli troops.

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The demonstrators have revived a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages which their families fled from, or were driven out of, when the state of Israel was created. Abbas severed ties with the White House after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, and has pledged to reject the peace plan the formulating.

Protesters on Friday said economic woes are also fueling frustration in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade.

Refugees comprise most of the two million population of Israeli-blockaded Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist militant movement Hamas.

"We are living like sardines", said father of seven Ahmad al-Naqaa. I'm 30-years-old, and I live in Gaza.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel to "exercise extreme caution with the use of force" ahead of the latest clashes.

Palestinian U.N. envoy, Riyad Mansour, announced Friday that attempts by 14 of the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council to launch an independent investigation into the violence in Gaza were blocked by the United States, permanent council member, and Israel's chief worldwide ally.

Israel has rebuffed global calls for a probe into last Friday's killings.

Israeli troops responded Friday with "riot dispersal means" as well as live fire "in accordance with the rules of engagement", the IDF said.

Israel has stationed sharpshooters to stop attempts by Palestinians to breach the border or sabotage the security fence. In fact, the Israeli military initially took ownership of their actions, describing them as premeditated and intentional.