8 said dead on Syrian, Lebanese borders by Israeli fire

Published 15/05/2011 17:44

JERUSALEM (AFP) — As many as eight were said killed by Israeli fire in incidents on the Syrian and Lebanese borders on Sunday, as Palestinians marked the 63rd anniversary of the expulsion from their homes.

Two people were killed and four critically hurt by the gunfire after protesters from Syria entered the occupied Golan Heights, a Druze doctor who tended them told AFP.

Protesters from the Syrian Golan breached the border with the Israeli-controlled half of the plateau, prompting Israeli troops to fire in the air and use tear gas, Israeli defense sources said.

A statement from Israel’s military said “forces fired selectively towards rioters who were targeting security infrastructure and some were injured as a result.”

The protesters, part of the Syrian Druze community separated from their families when Israel occupied the southern half of the Golan heights in 1967, breached the border, crossing almost a kilometer of minefields at the border zone.

The United Nations patrols the area, which was illegally annexed by Israel. Border crossings remain closed between Israel and Syria, making visits between families separated by the border almost impossible.

The border breach was called “very serious and violent” by Israeli army spokeswoman Avital Liebowitz, while Syria issued a statement condemning the fire on residents from its south, and also labeled as “criminal” shots fired toward Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, saying Israel bore full responsibility for the deaths.

Forces fire on refugees in Lebanon protests

Israeli gunfire killed six people and wounded 71 others at the country’s border with Lebanon, a medical source in southern Lebanon told AFP.

Thousands of mainly Palestinian refugees demonstrated, a Lebanese security official said, calling for the right to return to their homes in what is now Israel, and condemning their expulsion from the are in 1948 when the State of Israel was created.

An Israeli military statement said “several rioters attempted to breach the border fence and to infiltrate into Israeli territory,” noting that soldiers responded with “warning shots.”

The statement held the governments of Lebanon and Syria “responsible for any violence or provocation towards Israel that emanates from their respective territories.”

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