Israel says won’t change firing policy at Gaza border

By Middle East Affairs

After 15 Palestinians were killed Friday in riots and the United Nations called for an investigation, the Israel Defense Forces has said it will make no changes to its open-fire policy, army sources told Haaretz on Sunday.

The policy relates to the military’s tactics against Gazans who approach the border fence. The military’s priority is that the demonstrators don’t cross into Israel.

Haaretz reported the army will, however, investigate into whether some of the Gazans killed had actually posed a threat. Still, the army sources argued that 10 of those killed were terrorists.

“We will continue to act against the demonstrators in Gaza as we acted last Friday,” an army source said. Haaretz said the army will not make an effort to use different crowd dispersal means. On Friday, 15 Palestinians died, 805 were wounded by live fire and 154 were injured by rubber bullets.

Six Palestinians were shot and wounded Sunday by the IDF. One of them, Khan Yunis was shot in the head and critically wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. In six other incidents, the army said it shot at the feet of Palestinians.

Friday’s demonstrations near the border saw about 30,000 protestors, many of them throwing stones and firebombs at IDF soldiers, though no injuries from this were reported.

Haaretz said the army anticipated the possibility that many Palestinians would be killed in Friday’s confrontations. A senior army source told Haaretz: “That is the price that we are prepared to pay to prevent a breach [of the border].”

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