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Journalist killed during violent Palestinian protests is buried

09 April 2018

The UN human rights office said on Friday it has indications that Israeli forces used "excessive force" during a deadly crackdown on protesters last week in Gaza and expressed concerns about possible further violence.

The UN office noted that Israeli security forces are required by global human rights law to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression and to use, to the extent possible, non-violent means to discharge their duties.

Unrest between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces has erupted along Gaza's border with Israel, a week after similar unrest left 16 people dead.

Protesters also moved toward other camps, including east of Gaza City, where a senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, greeted the crowd.

Last Friday, thousands of Gaza residents participated in the demonstration, many gathering in five tent encampments set up along the narrow coastal strip's border with Israel, several hundred metres from the fence.

Gaza's economy has been devastated by years of Israeli military attacks and a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Although colleagues said Murtaja was not affiliated with Hamas or any other militant group, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh attended the funeral Saturday.

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The man killed in the airstrike before dawn on Thursday had approached the border fence with an assault rifle, the Israeli military said.

Smaller groups, mostly young men, rushed forward, throwing stones, hurling firebombs or burning tires and drawing Israeli fire.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said by blocking the resolution, the complicit in Israel's attacks against unarmed civilians in Gaza.

A Palestinian journalist has died after being shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian resistance faction Hamas on Saturday condemned the USA for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into Israel's acts of violence in the Gaza Strip.

The mass protests are perhaps Hamas' last chance to break a border blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007, without having to succumb to demands that it disarm.

The Gaza Strip is but one of the focal points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel's army said it "does not intentionally target journalists".

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The protesters are demanding that refugees be allowed to return to ancestral lands that are now in Israel.

Some have also called Friday's protest "Black Friday".

"Israeli forces should exercise maximum restraint and Palestinians should avoid friction at the Gaza fence", he said.

The medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), warned that in the weeks to come, more medical assistance would be required due to the increasing intensity of use of force by the Israeli forces.

The Times of Israel is reporting that the IDF is claiming that the protesters who were killed or hurt by the IDF were all members of Hamas and committing acts of violence.

Nahal Oz, like dozens of other villages and working class towns on the Gaza periphery, has over the years been targeted by Palestinian short-range rockets and mortar bombs and faced the threat of Hamas cross-border tunnels.

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