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UN rights chief blasts Israeli carnage amid new rallies

Palestinian medics evacuate a wounded protester during clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City on April 20, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations top human rights official has strongly condemned Israel’s use of “excessive force” on Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, which has led to the deaths of dozens of them over the past month.

On March 30, the Gazans began holding the “Great March of Return” rally in support of their right to return to their homelands. The protests have continued despite a ferocious Israeli crackdown which has left more than 40 Palestinians dead.

In a statement on Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Israel had to stop the practice and hold to account those responsible for the many deaths and injuries.

Palestinian youths mourn during the funeral of journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein in the northern Gaza Strip, April 26, 2018, after he succumbed to his injuries from two weeks before when he was shot by Israeli forces while covering demonstrations on the Gaza border. (Photo by AFP)

In the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians have been killed and over 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza, with no reports of Israeli casualties, the statement added.

“The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” Zeid said.

On Friday, Israel sent reinforcements to the co-called buffer zone, as reports said Palestinians were preparing to join yet another anti-Israeli rally in the area.

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