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Gaza death toll rises to 61

May 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Palestinian mourners carry the body of eight-month-old Palestinian baby Leila Anwar Ghandoour, died from tear gas inhalation during clashes in Gaza the previous day, during her funeral in Gaza City on 15 May, 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Sixty-one Palestinians have now been killed by Israeli occupation forces as a result of yesterday’s protests in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The protests, which took place against the US’ inauguration of its embassy in occupied Jerusalem and the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, continued today and have been met with relentless Israeli aggression as dozens of Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more injured.

The assault also claimed the life of eight-month-old Layla Al-Ghandoor who died this morning of tear gas inhalation fired by Israeli forces yesterday, making her the youngest victim of Israeli violence.

8-month-old Layla became the youngest victim of Israel's heavy handed response to unarmed Palestinian protests in Gaza [Mohamed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

8-month-old Layla became the youngest victim of Israel’s heavy handed response to unarmed Palestinian protests in Gaza [Mohamed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

In the West Bank, Israeli forces responded with brutal violence to protests this morning, as unarmed demonstrators faced live fire.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 46 people have been injured by gunfire in Bethlehem. In Al-Bireh, Israeli forces fired live ammunition at Palestinian youth, with gas bombs dropped to disperse crowds. Protests in Beit El have also been met with tear gas forcing peaceful demonstrators and paramedics to retreat.

In Jerusalem, tightened security around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has led to Palestinians being forced to endure security checks upon entering the Old City via Damascus Gate as well as an increased military presence.

READ: Israel defends attacks on Palestinians in Gaza

There were fewer protestors today as the organising committee called for a day of mourning after yesterday saw the largest number of casualties in a single day in Gaza since the 2014 Israeli attack on the besieged Strip. Thousands of Palestinians participated in funeral processions across the Gaza Strip; reports stated that there were funerals taking place on every street.

Health services in Gaza already suffering from a lack of equipment and essential medicines are struggling to cope with the high level of casualties. Yesterday there were calls for donations of O negative type blood amidst the high number of injuries. Jordan and the PA have responded to the crisis offering to send medical supplies and a medical team.

Turkey and South Africa have recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv in condemnation of the brutalities committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian protestors while the UN Security Council is holding an emergency session to discuss the developments on the ground.