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Netanyahu praises Israeli troops for deadly clashes in Gaza



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cheered Israeli troops on Saturday amid fatal clashes with Palestinian demonstrators on the country's southern border.

"Israel acts energetically and with determination to protect its sovereignty and the safety of its citizens," said Netanyahu [19459004

The Prime Minister's comments came one day after more than a dozen Palestinians were hit by Israeli fire during mass marches were killed along the Israeli-Gaza border, where Palestinians had gathered to protest against the decades blockade of the territory.

The Israel Defense Forces said the troops only opened fire on demand and claimed on Saturday that at least 1

0 of the Palestinians killed a day before were "known terrorists with traces of terrorist activity"

While much of the violence continues until the Saturday had subsided, demonstrators were still gathering at the fence between Israel and Gaza, where some Israeli soldiers were throwing rocks, The Associated Press reported.

The protests were largely led by Hamas, the Islamist group that governs Gaza.

The demonstrations were planned in preparation for a massive march in May when Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary. This date, May 15, is considered by the Palestinians as the day they were expelled from their ancestral lands.

The Israeli foreign ministry on Saturday objected to allegations that the Israeli forces have illegitimately repressed freedom of expression and Palestinian rights, saying that Israel is only trying to defend itself against terrorism.

"Anyone who mistakenly sees even one iota of freedom of expression in this murderous spectacle is blind to the threats facing the State of Israel," a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


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