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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

Gaza protests: Palestinians mourn woman killed by Israeli fire

Amal Al Taramsi, 43, is the third woman to die because of Israeli fire in months of clashes

Relatives of Amal Al Taramsi, 43, mourn during her funeral in Gaza City on January 12, 2019. AFP
Relatives of Amal Al Taramsi, 43, mourn during her funeral in Gaza City on January 12, 2019. AFP

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered Saturday for the funeral of a woman killed by Israeli forces at a protest near the perimeter fence, this year's first fatality from the weekly mass demonstrations.

The Israeli military shot dead 43-year-old Amal Al Taramsi during protests along the Gaza border on Friday and responded to the rally with strikes on positions controlled by the enclave's rulers Hamas, the health ministry said.

Spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said the woman was shot in the head east of Gaza City at the weekly rally. Al-Mezan, a Palestinian human rights group, said she was around 200 metres (yards) from the fence when she was shot in the head.

He said she was the third woman to die in months of clashes that have seen at least 241 Palestinians killed. A 21-year-old medic and a 14-year-old girl were killed last year.

The Israeli army did not immediately respond to the specific incident but said around 13,000 Palestinians had taken part in violent "riots" in multiple sites along the border.

Troops were responding "in accordance with standard operating procedures", she said.

The army later struck two positions belonging to Gaza's rulers Hamas, it said. The strikes reportedly caused no injuries.

Several thousand protesters gathered east of Gaza City, with stronger clashes than in recent weeks.

Protesters tried to destroy a barbed wire fence near the border and Israeli forces responded with gunfire and teargas.

At least 25 other Palestinians received gunshot wounds, Mr Al Qudra said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt took aim at Hamas, appearing to blame the group for the woman's death.

He said Hamas instigating violence and "putting lives, both Israel and Palestinian, at risk," in a tweet late on Friday. He refused to condemn Israel for the shooting, despite the claims that the woman posed no danger and was far from the border fence the Israeli military says it is protecting.

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At least once a week since March, Palestinians have taken part in protests with backing from Hamas.

Most of the Palestinians killed were shot in weekly clashes, but others have been hit by tank fire or air strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during an aborted special forces operation inside Gaza.

Protests have calmed in recent months amid an informal truce between Israel and Hamas.

Under the unwritten agreement, Israel has allowed Qatar to provide money and fuel to Hamas's government in Gaza in exchange for relative calm.

An expected delivery of new funds by Qatar did not arrive this week, sparking speculation Israel was holding it up.

Also on Friday, a Palestinian man "attempted to stab IDF troops" stationed near the hardline West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to the southern city of Hebron, according to the Israeli army.

"The troops and a civilian who was at the scene fired towards the assailant," who was wounded by the gunshots, the army said in a statement.

Soldiers evacuated the alleged assailant for medical treatment, it said, adding that no the soldiers were wounded in the incident.

Updated: January 12, 2019 04:32 PM

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