Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinians during protests near Gaza border fence

Jibril Rajoub speaks at a press conference in front of the Argentinian representative office in the West Bank city of Ramallah

Jibril Rajoub speaks at a press conference in front of the Argentinian representative office in the West Bank city of Ramallah

Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas as thousands of Palestinians protested near the Gaza border fence on Friday, with some demonstrators burning tires, throwing stones and flying blazing kites.

Palestinian protesters run to take cover from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during clashes, on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on June 8, 2018.

Five journalists were injured, including AFP photographer Mohamed al-Baba, who was shot in his right foot, and a cameraman working for the al-Aqsa Radio of Hamas, who was hit with a tear gas canister in his back, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

Although the Kollek Stadium is in west Jerusalem, it is located in a neighbourhood built where a Palestinian village once stood before it was destroyed in the war surrounding Israel's independence in 1948. "We have small children here who are braver than the Arab governments".

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Saturday inflicted a warning air strike on a group of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which were preparing to send a batch of explosive balloons over the border into Israel, a IDF spokesperson said.

Organizers linked the protests to the annual "Quds Day" events in Iran, which like the Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, preaches Israel's destruction and was incensed by the United States recognition in December of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Israel has accused Hamas of trying to carry out attacks and damage the fence under the guise of the protests, and that it only targets instigators.

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The global community has accused Israel of an excessive use of force during the protests, which left more than 115 Palestinians dead since the end of March.

The Palestinians said the Argentinians pulled out of the match after they realised Israel was using its presence in Jerusalem for political gain. Growing despair in Gaza over blockade-linked hardships, including daily hours-long power cuts and rising poverty, have driven turnout.

The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.

From the megaphones of different mosques Palestinian factions urged the population to participate in the protest, which coincided with the last Friday of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims; a majority of Palestinians consider themselves adherents of Islam.

Al-Quds day was observed throughout the country on Friday.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed the area in a move not recognised by the global community. The grass roots movement advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what supporters say is a way to promote Palestinian rights through non-violent means. The compound sits on the ruins of biblical temples and is revered by Jews as the holiest site of their religion.

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