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Palestinian govt calls for day of national mourning following Gaza deaths

Fifty-nine Palestinian protesters, including seven children under the age of 18, were killed yesterday by the Israeli army, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Palestinians carry a demonstrator injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on 14 May 2018, during protests over the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Picture: AFP

JERUSALEM - A day of national mourning has been declared by the Palestinian government to mark Monday's death toll, the single worst day of violence since the last Gaza war in 2014.

Fifty-nine Palestinian protesters, including seven children under the age of 18, were killed yesterday by the Israeli army, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

They were part of the demonstrations against the American embassy's inauguration in Jerusalem.

Amnesty International has accused the Israeli army of “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.”

Around half of all injuries were caused by live bullets and the Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces directly targeted emergency services and journalists.

But the Israeli military insists it was acting in self-defence. It says it repelled a number of border breaches and was protecting Israeli communities living near Gaza from potential attacks by Palestinians trying to cross into Israel.

The army has repeatedly said it is fired on by molotov cocktails, explosions and live fire.

Meanwhile, the United States has blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that would have called for an independent investigation into the violence.