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Israeli crackdown on Palestinians against US embassy move to Jerusalem kills 25

Monday May 14, 2018 8:14 PM, Agencies

US Embassy Jerusalem

Jerusalem/Gaza: At least 25 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and more than 900 others wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition and teargas and firebombs at protesters assembled along several points near the fence with Israel.

Of the 918 wounded, the ministry of health said at least 74 were below the age of 18, 23 were women and eight were journalists, Palestinian ministry said Monday.

Since Monday morning, Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have been attempting to cross the highly fortified fence separating the enclave from Israel, as part of the Great March of Return movement.

Monday's protest comes ahead of the annual commemorations of the Nakba, or "catastrophe", when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, which led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages.

The protests were also planned to coincide with the moving of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in line with the US' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, furthering stoking tensions and angering Palestinians.

Also Read | US relocates embassy to Jerusalem today amid boycott, protests

Earlier, a US delegation has flown to Israel amid rising tensions ahead of planned protests against the controversial move of the American embassy to Jerusalem and rallies calling for the Palestinians' right of return to the homes from which they were expelled from in 1948.

Several US officials, joined by President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband and senior adviser Jared Kushner, will attend the opening on Monday, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding.

Trump announced last December that Washington formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there from Tel Aviv, breaking with decades of US policy.

His decision, long-sought by Israel, sparked anger and protests throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and drew condemnation from world leaders.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump's "bold decision" as the Israeli foreign ministry held a festive ceremony to welcome the US delegation, which also included 12 Congress members. The event, however, was shunned by most European Union countries, Al Jazeera reported.

Earlier, hundreds of Jewish settlers raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, raising the Israeli flag and praying there, on what Israelis call Jerusalem Day, which marks the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

The ancient marble-and-stone compound, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, houses Al-Aqsa Mosque - Islam's third-holiest site - and the 7th-century Dome of the Rock. Jews call it Temple Mount.

Visits by Jewish groups, including politicians, have triggered violence over the years, with Palestinians fearing that Israeli hardliners are trying to take control of the site.

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