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Palestinians mourn dead after Gaza-Israel border clash

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GAZA CITY — Dozens of Palestinian youths gathered by the Israel-Gaza border on Saturday, though the area remained mostly quiet, a day after deadly violence broke out in one of the biggest Palestinian demonstrations there in years.

At least 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces confronting protesters on Friday, some of whom the military said had opened fire, rolled burning tyres and hurled rocks and fire bombs toward troops across the border.

Thousands in Gaza marched through the streets at funerals for those killed.

In the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, residents said Israeli troops fired warning shots towards a crowd of youths, some of whom burnt tyres.

Health officials said two people were wounded and an Israeli military spokesman said he was checking the details.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Saturday a national day of mourning and a general strike was called across the occupied West Bank.

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Tens of thousands of Palestinians had gathered on Friday along the fenced 65 kilometre frontier, where tents were erected for a planned six-week protest pressing for a right of return for refugees and their descendents to what is now Israel.

The Israeli military estimated there were 30,000 people.

Families brought their children to the encampments just a few hundred metres from the Israeli security barrier with the Islamist Hamas-run enclave.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised Israel’s security forces after the killings of 17 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, just as condemnation over the Israeli army’s use of live ammunition against protesters grows.

In a statement on Saturday, Netanyahu thanked his troops for ‘guarding the country’s borders’ and allowing ‘Israeli citizens to celebrate the [Passover] holiday peacefully’.

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19 killed in Islamist militant attack on Nigerian village

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MAIDUGURI— At least 19 people have been killed in an Islamist militant attack on a village in northeast Nigeria, a survivor of the attack said.

The militants attacked the village of Mailari in the Guzamala region of Borno state at around 2 am Sunday, according to the survivor, Abatcha Umar.

The strike is the latest blow to Nigeria’s efforts to defeat insurgencies by the Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram group and Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA).

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Umar said he had counted 19 people killed. However,an aid worker at a camp that received the survivors, and who declined to be identified, put the death toll at 63.

The Islamist militants had been spotted around the village three days before their attack, said Umar. Locals had warned Nigerian troops stationed in the nearby town of Gudumbali, but no action was taken, he said.

In recent months, the military has suffered its heaviest defeats in years, commanders have been repeatedly replaced, and special forces soldiers have mutinied.

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