Two Palestinians shot by Israeli forces on the Gaza border during clashes earlier this week succumbed to their wounds Saturday, the Hamas-run Heath Ministry in the Strip said.
The Gaza Health Ministry identified the fatalities as Moin al-Sai, 58, and Mohammad Mazen Elayyan, 20.
The deaths announced Saturday bring to 64 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza border clashes this week, according to Gazan health ministry figures. Israel has no official death toll.
Since March 30, tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken part in weekly “March of Return” protests, which Israel says are orchestrated by the ruling Hamas terror group and used as cover for attempted attacks and breaches of the border fence.
The violent demonstrations were meant to end this week, culminating with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, but Hamas leaders have said they want them to continue. About 1,000 protesters took part in demonstrations Friday.
The Palestinian deaths during Monday’s protests were met with international outrage and calls for an independent investigation of events. Hamas has subsequently admitted that 50 of the dead were members of the terror group. Three others were Islamic Jihad members.
It was not immediately clear if the two men who died Saturday were affiliated with either of the terror groups.
On Friday, the UN’s Human Rights Council ordered a probe into the killings. Israel said it would not cooperate, and the US slammed the decision as a “shameful” day for human rights.
Earlier this week, Kuwait sought to get the UN Security Council to issue a statement expressing outrage at Israel for the killings and seeking an independent investigation. But the US blocked the statement, saying it was one-sided and faulted it for not mentioning incitement to violence by Hamas.
On Friday, Kuwait urged the Council to condemn Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians “in the strongest terms” and ensure the “protection of the Palestinian civilian population, including through the deployment of “an international protection mission.”
The draft also calls for urgent aid to civilians in Gaza, and “immediate and significant steps” to stabilize the situation on the ground.
No date was set for the draft to be put to a vote, although the US is likely to veto the measure.
Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon responded to the draft resolution, saying the “shameful” measure was a “new low” in attempts to distort reality.
“This shameful draft resolution is a proposal to support Hamas’s war crimes against Israel and the residents of Gaza who are being sent to die for the sake of preserving Hamas’ rule,” he said in a statement. “The cynicism and attempts to distort reality have reached a new low.”
“Israel will continue to defend its sovereignty and the security of its citizens against the terror and murderous violence of Hamas,” Dannon said.