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Death toll in Gaza reaches 20 as 1 man succumbs to wounds, 1 killed by drone fire

April 5, 2018 2:11 P.M. (Updated: April 8, 2018 11:43 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man who was injured by Israeli live fire during Friday’s “Great March of Return” succumbed to his wounds on Thursday at noon, while Palestinian medics recovered the body of a second Palestinian, who was reportedly killed by Israeli drone fire late Wednesday night.

Medical sources told Ma’an that Shadi Hamdan al-Kashef, 34, from the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah succumbed to a head injury he sustained with a live bullet during protests last Friday.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that medical teams were able to recover the body of a slain Palestinian in northeaster Gaza, along the “buffer zone” area of the border.

The man was reportedly killed by an Israeli drone late Wednesday near the border with Israel. His identity remained unknown.

As of Thursday, the death toll in Gaza had reached 20 people, since “The Great March of Return” began on Friday, when Israeli forces heavily used live fire on civilian demonstrators, killing 16 Palestinians in a single day and injuring hundreds of others.

Friday’s demonstration, in which an estimated 17,000 Palestinians participated, was the first day in a weeks-long protest which will continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, when more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Rights groups have harshly condemned Israel’s use of live fire on the civilian protesters, calling the practice criminal and illegal.

On Thursday, Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem launched a campaign entitled “Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot,” urging Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to shoot unarmed protesters in Gaza.

According to B’Tselem, the campaign will include advertisements in Israeli newspapers “clarifying to soldiers that they must refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators,” which the group argues are “manifestly illegal orders.”

B’Tselem criticized the Israeli military for announcing in advance that soldiers will use live fire against protesters, even if they are hundreds of meters away from the border fence, rather than taking steps to reduce the number of casualties.

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