3 Palestinians shot dead on Gaza border: Israeli army

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinians on Sunday after two separate infiltration bids on the Gaza border, the army said.

“2 suspects attempted to infiltrate Israel from the southern Gaza Strip and damage the (border) security fence,” the army tweeted.

“IDF (army) troops fired towards them. One of the suspects was killed, and the other was injured and transferred to security forces.”

It later said two other infiltrators were killed after they hurled explosives at soldiers, without giving details on the locations of the two incidents.

Forty-five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of what organisers have dubbed the Great March of Return on March 30, with more than 1,500 wounded.

No Israelis have been reported hurt.

The army has accused Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out attacks.

Marchers are demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in 1948. Israel says that would mean the end of the Jewish state.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the deaths along Gaza’s border, with the army saying its troops only use live ammunition as a last resort.

The army has pledged to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attacks, and alleges there have been attempts at all three.