Israeli forces kill two at Gaza frontier during fourth week of protests

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Gaza City: Four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, as demonstrations entered their fourth week along the Gaza-Israel border.

His death brings the number of Gazans killed by Israeli forces in demonstrations and clashes since March 30 to 35, according to Gaza's health ministry.

"We are fighting an uncompromising battle here, and the other side must understand - there is a determined army here", Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday during a visit to southern Israel, amid ongoing Hamas-orchestrated unrest on the Gaza border. These were military terror operations using civilian protests as cover. Despite global condemnation, the Israeli army has maintained its rules of engagement, determined to stop protesters reaching the border fence.

The Israeli army said it was on high alert and warned Palestinians via airdropped leaflets to refrain from violence and avoid approaching the security fence.

The IDF troops responded with riot dispersal means and fired in accordance with the rules of engagement, said the Israeli military.

"What the protesters are planning is that by the final week, on the day of the Nakba, they'll be at the border fence with Israel", said Smith.

The number of protesters on Friday was lower than the previous three weeks, but still in the thousands.

The protest began on March 30, and has seen tent encampments spring up near the Israeli-imposed restricted zone along the 40km (25-mile) border fence.

The marches also press for a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel.

Around 3,000 Palestinians demonstrated in the fourth consecutive week by burning tires, throwing molotov cocktails and flying kites with burning rags dangling from their tails in a new tactic aimed at setting Israeli fields on fire.

The mass marches, which have been backed by several Palestinian factions, are also fuelled by growing desperation among Gaza's two million residents.

"The Israelis pushed the Egyptians to mediate, but the movement was disinterested, and so for this reason, they could continue using live ammunition against them until they stop".

On Friday they fitted kites with cans of flammable liquid, which they flew across the border to start fires in Israel.

Katz thus holds Hamas responsible for Islamic Jihad's video which shows fighters from the militant group lining up their sniper rifles on a staircase and then go on to target IDF soldiers and generals.

The European Union and United Nations chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation into the deaths, but Israel has rejected it.

Protest organisers officially labelled the latest event in support of "martyrs and prisoners", but on social media some Palestinians dubbed it the "Friday of Kites".

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