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'Give up on hostile attitude': Turkey accuses Israel of 'disproportionate' use of force in Gaza

Tens of thousands of people took part in peaceful protests along border with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2018

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Turkey accused Israel of using 'disproportionate force' against Palestinians peacefully protesting in Gaza near the Israeli border which left over a dozen dead and thousands wounded.
Turkey on Friday accused Israel of using "disproportionate force" against Palestinians commemorating Land Day near the Israeli border that left more than a dozen dead and thousands wounded.

"We strongly condemn Israel's use of disproportionate force against Palestinians during the peaceful protests today (Friday) in Gaza," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of people took part in peaceful protests along the border with Israel.

Friday became the conflict's worst single day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war with some 1,600 injured, over 700 of them by live bullets and the remainder by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation. At least 20 are in critical condition in Gaza's hospitals, which have been overwhelmed by the skyrocketing number of casualties occurring over just several hours on Friday.

Israel's military said protesters were hurling stones and firebombs at soldiers. There were no reports of Israelis injured or killed.

The Turkish foreign ministry expressed "concerns" over the casualties.

"It is necessary that Israel rapidly ends use of force that would further raise the tensions in the region," it said.

"We are inviting the international community to fulfil its responsibility to convince Israel to give up on its hostile attitude."

The Turkish government has been one of the most vocal advocates of the Palestinian cause and criticises Israeli assaults in Gaza.

Turkey and Israel reached a deal in 2016 to end a six-year diplomatic crisis that erupted when Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists travelling on an aid flotilla to break the siege of Gaza.

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