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South Africa withdraws ambassador from Israel following Gaza's bloodiest day of protest

In the bloodiest single day for Palestinians since 2014, 55 protestors were killed with over 2,700 injured by live gunfire reports Reuters.

The Palestinian Authority said that at least 1,100 of those injuries were lower limb gunshot wounds.

Thousands of Palestinians protested at the border between Gaza and Israel to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary.  As the protests swelled, Israeli forces opened fire and sprayed tear gas.

South Africa’s government responded to the killings by withdrawing its Ambassador from Israel.

In a statement on Monday evening, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said,

“Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attacks, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect and until further notice.”

The foreign ministries of the UK, France and Egypt expressed concern about the ongoing violence.

Meanwhile the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem. A move which sparked international condemnation, in what was viewed as a decision that would heighten tensions between Israel and Palestine.

Turkey called for an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after the Israeli killings.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogen described the actions of Israeli forces as “genocide”, adding,

“No matter from what side, whether from the United States o Israel. I curs this humanitarian plight, this genocide. Unfortunately, the US has arrogantly stood by the Israeli administration”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted,

“Every country has an obligation to defend its borders. The Hamas terrorist organisation declares it intends to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal. We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens.”

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