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Palestinians mourn dead after Gaza-Israel border clash

Thompson Reuters

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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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32 dead, 1 missing in Papua attacks, Indonesian police say

AP Associated Press

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JAYAPURA, INDONESIA- Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.

Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.

Citing reports from several witnesses, Diaz said, eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them. However the eighth managed to escape and remains missing.

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“This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the government,” Diaz told The Associated Press.

Separately, Papua province military spokesman Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said an armed group attacked a military post in Mbua village in the same district late Monday, killing a soldier and injuring another.

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