Canada slams ‘inexcusable’ use of live fire at Gaza border, says citizen injured
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Canada slams ‘inexcusable’ use of live fire at Gaza border, says citizen injured

Without directly mentioning Israel, PM Trudeau condemns 'reported use of excessive force and live fire,' calls for inquiry

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to AFP journalists in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 9, 2018. (AFP Photo/Lars Hagberg)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to AFP journalists in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 9, 2018. (AFP Photo/Lars Hagberg)

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he “deplores and is gravely concerned” by the deadly clashes on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, and demanded an independent investigation into the violence.

Trudeau said Canadian citizen Tarek Loubani, “along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children,” was among those wounded in this week’s violent protests.

“We are doing everything we can to assist Dr. Loubani and his family, and to determine how a Canadian citizen came to be injured. We are engaging with Israeli officials to get to the bottom of these events,” Trudeau said in a statement from his office.

Without mentioning Israel, he condemned as “inexcusable” the use of live fire and alleged excessive use of force. The statement also did not mention Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza and that has openly mobilized the violent protests. Israel has accused Hamas of orchestrating the clashes as cover to carry out attacks and try to breach the border fence.

“Reported use of excessive force and live ammunition is inexcusable,” he said. “It is imperative we establish the facts of what is happening in Gaza. Canada calls for an immediate independent investigation to thoroughly examine the facts on the ground – including any incitement, violence, and the excessive use of force,” he said.

“Canada stands ready to assist in such an endeavor,” Trudeau added. “We will work closely with our international partners and through international institutions to address this serious situation.”

Palestinians burn tires as they clash with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Gaza City, on May 14, 2018. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

Tens of thousands of Palestinians joined Hamas-organized protests on the Gaza border Monday and hundreds of others clashed with Israeli troops on the outskirts of Jerusalem and in other locations in the West Bank, marking the 70th anniversary of what they call the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of Israel’s creation in 1948, as well as protesting the relocation of the US embassy to Israel’s capital on Monday afternoon.

Israel has blamed Hamas for the deadly violence, saying the terror group encouraged and led the protests, which included attacks on Israeli troops and attempts to breach the border fence. The IDF had said Sunday that Hamas planned to send armed terrorists through any breach in the fence to “massacre” Israelis.

Other Western leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Theresa May have criticized Israel’s handling of the clashes in Gaza.

While much of the world has focused much of its criticism of the deadly riots on Israel, both Australia and the United States have pinned blame on Hamas for the deaths, with the US blocking a UN Security Council statement Tuesday calling for an independent investigation of the clashes.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry, 60 Palestinians were killed in Monday’s clashes, which coincided with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. It said another two were killed in protests Tuesday.

Hamas, which has described the clashes as non-violent, acknowledged Wednesday that 50 of those killed were members of the group. Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based terror organization, said three of those killed were its members.

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