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Iran suggests Saudi crown prince responsible for Gaza protest 'barbaric massacre' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iran suggests Saudi crown prince responsible for Gaza protest 'barbaric massacre'

Israeli forces opened fire on tens of thousands of Gazan protesters near the border [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2018

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Iran has suggested that the Saudi crown prince should be held responsible for the killing of 16 Palestinian protesters in a "barbaric massacre" on the Gaza border.

Iran has suggested that Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince should be held responsible for the killing of 16 Palestinian protesters in a "barbaric massacre", in the bloodiest incident since a 2014 war.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday that Israel felt it could act with impunity because of secret ties with several leaders in the region - an allusion to Mohammed bin Salman.

"Shameful efforts by some regional leaders in order to establish overt, covert, disgraceful and ignominious relations with the [Israeli] regime have unfortunately further emboldened Zionist regime," Qassemi said in a statement.

"These leaders, who are parvenus and have wishful thinking, have had a direct role in, and are responsible for the recent killing of scores of Palestinians and should be held accountable," he said.

Qassemi condemned that the deadly attack by Israeli forces on Palestinian protesters as a "brutal bloodbath".

Israeli forces opened fire on tens of thousands of Gazan protesters near the border on Friday, using live fire and tear gas to force back smaller numbers of demonstrators who approached the heavily fortified border fence.

The attack killed 16 people and injured over 1,400 people - 758 of them by live fire.

The incident has been condemned by human rights groups and politicians around the world as a "shocking disproportionate response" to the protesters demanding the right to return of Palestinian refugees.

The condemnation came a day after Qassemi called the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne a "delusional novice" over his threat that Saudi Arabia could engage in a military confrontation against Iran.

Prince Mohammed is currently on a much-hyped US tour to woo US politicians and celebrities.

Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that the crown prince had met with three Jewish rabbis in New York.
Observers say that Saudi Arabia is forging closer ties to Israel.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official diplomatic relations, but the two share a number of strategic interests. Both are close US allies and see Iran as an arch-rival.

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