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14 May 2018

Dozens of Palestinians killed in Gaza protests over opening of new US embassy in Jerusalem

Israeli forces have killed at least 41 Palestinians and wounded 1,800 during mass protests along the Gaza border, casting a cloud over the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

It is the deadliest single day of protests since the Palestinians began staging weekly border demonstrations on March 30 in an attempt to break an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Protesters set tyres on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air, while the Israeli military accused protesters of trying to break through the border fence and plant a bomb. They also claimed troops had come under fire.

By the, at least 41 Palestinians – including a 14-year-old boy – were killed, while more than 500 were wounded by Israeli gunfire, Palestinian health officials said.

In the West Bank, several thousand people gathered in the centre of Ramallah, while hundreds marched to the Qalandiya crossing on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where protesters threw stones at Israeli troops.

The protest in Gaza is the biggest yet in a weeks-long campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem later.

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv, a key campaign promise of US president Donald Trump, has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.

“A great day for Israel!” Mr Trump tweeted earlier on Monday.

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