Israeli troops kill three protesters, injure 600 during 'riots' along Gaza border

Thousands of Gazans attend funeral of Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein

Thousands of Gazans attend funeral of Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein

Palestinians carry a wounded man during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, April 27, 2018.

Al Jazeera's reported that "Thousands of people stood right at the border, then we heard the Israeli forces opening live fire".

More than 300 other people were hospitalised for gunshot wounds and tear gas inhalation, Gaza's health ministry said.

More than two million Palestinians are packed into the narrow coastal enclave.

B'Tselem's El-Ad stressed that "extensive past experience clearly demonstrates that the recently announced Israeli "investigation" of some of these fatalities is nothing more than a whitewash mechanism", and "part of a façade created to give the impression that Israel is abiding by its legal obligation to investigate".

The ministry said that Israeli forces randomly fired an unknown gas toward protesters in al-Awdeh refugee camp to the east of al-Buriej, causing suffocation, convulsion, and extreme vomiting to dozens of protesters.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called the loss of life deplorable.

"Given the scale of the ongoing crisis, Amnesty re-iterates its calls for all governments to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides to this conflict", he said.

The death toll includes 35 people killed during demonstrations as part of the "Great March of Return" - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel - and appear to have been unarmed and no imminent threat to Israeli security forces, the statement said. Witnesses said three protesters briefly crossed into Israel and turned around. The statement refers to the incident reported by the IDF earlier Friday, in which hundreds of Palestinians allegedly rushed the border fence, "as they hurl charges, grenades and bottle bombs and even hit and set fire to the border fence".

Hamas, the militant group controlling Gaza, is largely leading the marches also to highlight a decade of Israel-Egyptian blockade that made it hard for the Islamic movement to govern.

The protests are building toward what is meant to be a climax on May 15, when Palestinians will mark the 70th anniversary of what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe - the establishment of Israel and the war surrounding its creation.

Israel and the United States have long had a close relationship, with the United States being Israel's biggest ally, and the connections between the two nations could deepen following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel - a move that was widely criticized within the worldwide community.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded. But thousands began rushing toward the barrier fence after a rousing speech by the senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan, setting off a tremendous barrage of tear gas from the Israeli side that did not deter many. It said the crowd threw explosives, firebombs and rocks, and that troops opened fire "in accordance with the rules of engagement" and halted the crowd. The blockade has gutted Gaza's economy.

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