GAZA CITY: Five Palestinians were killed in new violence along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.
The ministry did not immediately identify the victims, but said they had been killed as thousands of protesters approached the heavily-guarded Israeli border.
Four Palestinians were killed along the border east of Al Bureij in the centre of the Gaza Strip, while one died east of Gaza City, a ministry spokesman said.
The Israeli army said approximately 14,000 “rioters and demonstrators” had gathered at various sites along the border.
A statement said troops “spotted a number of assailants who climbed the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip”.
It said they planted an “explosive device” which blew up and “set the security fence on fire.”
They assailants subsequently approached an Israeli border post and were shot, the statement said.
“The assailants were killed,” it said, without giving a number.
At least 203 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests began on March 30.
The majority were killed during border demonstrations, though others died in airstrikes and tank shelling.
One Israeli soldier was killed.
UN envoy ‘no longer acceptable’: Meanwhile, a senior official said on Thursday that the Palestinian leadership will no longer work with the UN peace envoy, accusing him of overstepping his role by seeking a deal between Israel and Hamas.
Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) executive committee, said it had informed the UN secretary general that envoy Nickolay Mladenov was “no longer acceptable” to the Palestinian government.
Mladenov had “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls Gaza, he said, adding that his actions impacted “Palestinian national security and the unity of our people.”
There was no immediate comment from Mladenov or confirmation from the United Nations.
“After the Palestinians said ‘no’ to Israel and ‘no’ to the Americans, they are now saying ‘no’ to the UN as well,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said in a statement. “In this decision, Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas) is continuing to lead the Palestinian Authority to international isolation, which ultimately harm the Palestinians.”
Mladenov, alongside Egypt, has been seeking a long-term truce agreement between Hamas and the Jewish state, without including Abbas’s internationally recognised government in the indirect negotiations. — AFP