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IDF orders investigation into response to Gaza protests

13 Avril 2018

US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said government vetting of Murtaja began in late 2017.

The footage from last Friday was shared online, sparking further denunciation of the Israeli army's open-fire rules against Palestinians. "His use of the drone was to show that Gaza has a lovely and vibrant face", said his 24-year-old brother, Mutasim.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli army cleared the sniper of wrongdoing in a preliminary inquiry into the incident, but said the soldiers filming and heard cheering in the video would face "disciplinary proceedings".

Israel has warned that it holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza, and will not allow the border area to become a combat zone.

The Gaza-Israel border has since March 30 been the scene of major protests, with tens of thousands of people demonstrating against the Jewish state.

The protests are part of the planned six-week "March of Return" which will end in mid-May with the anniversary of Israel's founding, which the Arab world calls the Nakba, or catastrophe.

Murtaja had worked as a cameraman on a documentary by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and had filmed others for outlets such as Al Jazeera.

The state responded that while the men fulfilled the medical criteria required to get approval, they were denied entry because their injuries "stemmed directly from their participation in the riots". Of these, 15 journalists have been killed by Israeli fire.

The Israeli army amassed soldiers along the militarized fence along with 100 snipers with orders to shoot to kill.

This was not accidental; the Israeli military issued a statement claiming full responsibility - "everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed".

"Sending strength and encouragement to all the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and the members of the security forces who this night are protecting the citizens of the state and are required to be away from their family Seder tables", he wrote.

Israel's defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, said Tuesday during an appearance in northern Israel hours before the release of the preliminary results, "The sniper deserves a commendation, the photographer a court martial".

IDF orders investigation into response to Gaza protests