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Netanyahu hits back at Turkey’s Erdogan over Gaza violence

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Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday over his sharp criticism of Israel after its soldiers killed 16 Palestinians when a major demonstration led to clashes.

Erdogan has condemned Israel over its “inhumane attack” on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, prompting Netanyahu’s response.

“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.

He added, referring to April Fool’s Day: “Apparently this is how they mark April 1 in Ankara.”

Netanyahu has previously labelled Erdogan as someone who “bombs Kurdish villagers.”

Israel has defended its soldiers’ actions on Friday, when troops opened fire on Palestinians who strayed from a main protest camp attended by tens of thousands and approached the heavily fortified fence cutting off the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military says it opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

It said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was also an attempted gun attack against soldiers along the border.

No casualties were reported among Israelis.

Palestinians accused Israel of using disproportionate force, saying its soldiers opened fire on protesters who did not pose a threat, while human rights groups questioned Israel’s use of live fire.

Both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini have called for an independent investigation.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent probe.


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