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UN calls for independent investigation into Gaza's #GreatReturnMarch deaths

The march is specifically important to 1.3 million of the besieged enclave’s population population [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2018

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Antonio Guterres has called for an 'an independent and transparent investigation' into Israel’s brutal force against Gazan Palestinians during a peaceful march calling for their right to return.
UN Secretary General has called for an “an independent and transparent investigation” into Israel’s brutal force in the besieged Gaza Strip, which killed 16 and injured at least 1,000 Palestinians during a peaceful protest on Friday, a spokesperson said.

Antonio Guterres “appeals to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and in particular any measures that could place civilians in harm’s way,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said as the UN Security Council urged restraint on both sides.

The council didn't decide on any action or joint message after an emergency meeting Friday evening, convened by Kuwait, a country known for calling out Israel on the international arena. 

Israel is being criticised across the world for its disproportionate use of force after Friday, in the largest escalation since the 2014 war on Gaza which killed 2,100 Palestinians and 63 Israelis in seven weeks.

Israel’s targeting of Palestinians in the besieged enclave comes as a reaction to peaceful Land Day protests which took place along the Israel-Gaza border.

The Great Return March protests began on Friday and included cultural events such as traditional Palestinian dabka dancing for the thousands of families, women and children attending.

Read also: Palestinian Land Day resistance comes at critical time

The Israeli military said thousands participated and that troops opened fire at the "main instigators" of the stone-throwing - but the casualty list disputes that version of events.

Tens of thousands of Gaza residents streamed to five tent camp sites, each located several hundred metres from the border wall. From there, large crowds marched to the heavily fortified fence, and some among them started throwing stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with live fire, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Later on Friday Israel's army said it targeted three Hamas sites in Gaza with tank fire and an airstrike after what it said was an attempted gun attack on soldiers by Palestinians along the border.

The march is specifically important to 1.3 million of the besieged enclave’s population population because they are families of refugees who fled to Gaza during the mass expulsion of Palestinians during Israel's establishment in 1948.

The 1.3 million refugees, known as Muhajereen in Palestine, comprise a large portion of Gaza’s overall 1.9 million population.

Agencies contributed to this report

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