Death of Gaza teenager at border protest sparks condemnation

Teenager’s father Ebrahim Ayoub told AFP his son “was standing far from the soldiers and not armed”

Raeda Ayyoub, the mother of Mohammed, 14, who was killed during a protest along Gaza’s border with Israel, east of Jebaliya Yesterday, reacts while sits near her husband Ibrahim, during interview at her family house in Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Israel’s defense minister said Saturday that Hamas leaders are the “only culprits” in continued bloodshed on the Gaza border, as the EU and a top U.N. official made new demands to investigate shootings of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, including the killing of a 14-year-old boy. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Gaza: The death of a Palestinian teenager during protests along Gaza’s border with Israel sparked condemnation and international calls for restraint on Saturday.

Rescue services and relatives said Mohammad Ayoub, aged 15, was killed by Israeli gunfire on Friday.

The Israeli army said Saturday it was opening an investigation into the death of the young Palestinian, who was killed during demonstrations that have brought thousands of Palestinians to the border for four consecutive Fridays.

A spokesperson for the European Union on Saturday called for a “full investigation” into the circumstances of the death.

“As we once again mourn the loss of lives, the EU calls on the Israel Defence Forces to refrain from using lethal force against unarmed protesters,” a statement said.

“As stated repeatedly, the priority now must be to avoid any further escalation of violence and loss of life.”

On Friday night, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nikolay Mladenov wrote on Twitter: “It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children… #Children must be protected from #violence, not exposed to it.”

The teenager’s father Ebrahim Ayoub told AFP his son “was standing far from the soldiers and not armed”.

“Why are our children killed and Israeli children living a quiet life?”

Three other Palestinians were killed on Friday, bringing to 38 the death toll from Israeli gunfire since the start of “March of Return” protests on March 30.

High-ranking Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called on the International Criminal Court to open a “serious judicial inquiry into the crimes committed against the Palestinian people”.

Israeli forces have used excessive force on demonstrators along its border by firing live ammunition, injuring hundreds in addition to the deaths.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday held no remorse for the murder.

“I will again tell the habitants of Gaza… Do not approach the fence.”

Palestinians have been warned in leaflets dropped down from Israeli planes that they are risking their lives by attending the protests.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean, have gathered at the border since March 30 calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former lands now inside Israel.

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