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Netanyahu, Erdogan Exchange Barbs Amid Ongoing Protests in Gaza

Sputnik News

12:35 01.04.2018(updated 18:17 01.04.2018)

The leaders of Israel and Turkey have engaged in a war of words over the actions of Israeli soldiers, who have killed 16 Palestinians during the recent clashes on the Gaza border.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan in a Sunday speech accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being a "terrorist" and "occupier" in a row over the actions of Israeli Defense Forces amid the protests on the Gaza border.

"What you do to the oppressed Palestinians will be part of history and we will never forget it," Erdogan said, adding that "the Israeli people are uncomfortable with what you're doing.

This comes as Netanyahu earlier in the day had commented on Erdogan's rant calling Israeli actions towards Palestinian protesters an "inhumane attack."

"The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, adding "apparently this is how they mark April 1 in Ankara."

A six-week-long protest started on Friday with large crowds of Palestinians gathering near the border fence, while smaller groups rushed forward, throwing stones and burning tires. The Israeli forces responded with live fire, rubber-coated steel pellets and tear gas.

According to the Palestinian health authorities, 15 Palestinians have been killed, while more than 1,500 injured, which makes the current event one of the bloodiest since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas.

The protest, named "The Great Return March" is dedicated to the so-called Land Day, commemorating the day in 1976, when Israeli troops killed six Arabs protesting against the confiscation of land.

Besides Erdogan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement the day before, condemning a disproportionate use of force by Israel and urging the international community to take steps in order to "make Israel abandon its aggressive stand."


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