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Israel PM spokesman accuses Gaza women of being Daesh

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman has accused Palestinian women protesting in Gaza of being affiliated to Daesh, in a renewed bid to smear demonstrators participating in the Great March of Return.

Ofir Gendelman, the prime minister's spokesman for Arab media, tweeted a picture of veiled women holding Palestinian flags this weekend, alleging they were members of Daesh, claiming this was evidence that Gaza Strip authority Hamas was also part of the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

The tweet was condemned by various journalists, who pointed out that Daesh consider the Palestinian flag to be blasphemous, and so there was no evidence that they had any relation to militants abroad.

In a conversation with the Telegraph's Middle East correspondent Raf Sanchez, Gendelman confirmed that the only evidence he had for linking the women to Daesh, was the fact that they were wearing face veils, prompting some to accuse him of Islamophobia.

Thousands of Palestinians protested on the Gaza fence with Israel on Saturday, marking a year since the start of the Great March of Return. Four people were killed, three of whom were just 17 years old, and hundreds were injured when Israeli occupation forces responded violently to the demonstrations, firing at civilians and launching tear gas at crowds.

READ: Thousands show solidarity with Palestine in London

Those wounded included 86 children, 29 women, three paramedics and seven journalists.

Since the start of the Great March of Return protests on 30 March 2018, Israel has killed around 280 protesters and wounded more than 30,000 others.

Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel's 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

READ: Remembering the Great March of Return

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