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Ireland summons Israeli ambassador over Gaza bloodshed: ministry

Protestors place a mock-up of the separation barrier between Israel and the occupied territories, during a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy, in Dublin, Saturday, June 4, 2005, before thestart of the the World Cup qualifying soccer match between I
AP Photo/ John Cogill

Ireland summoned Israel's ambassador to Dublin on Tuesday to express the government's "shock and dismay" at the deaths of 60 Palestinian protesters during clashes along the Gaza border over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem.

Ambassador Zeev Boker was summoned by Foreign Minister Simon Coveney "to express Ireland's shock and dismay at the level of death and injury yesterday on the Gaza Strip," the ministry said in a statement.

Coveney also asked for "restraint from Israel in the hours and days ahead," the foreign ministry said.

"The ambassador has been informed of Irish demands for an independent international investigation into yesterday's deaths led by the UN," it added.

The ministry said Irish officials in Ramallah reported that health services in Gaza, already stretched because of a lack of equipment and essential medicines, were "overwhelmed with the level of casualties".

"As well as the death and mass injury, Ireland is also very disturbed by the injuries suffered by health workers as reported by the WHO (World Health Organization)," the statement said.

It said there were 211 recorded attacks against health workers in Gaza and 25 ambulances had been damaged.

MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed that Boker was summoned for a brief discussion, but told i24NEWS it had not received any indications that Ireland would join South Africa and Turkey in withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv.

South Africa's ambassador departed Israel "on the first available flight" out of Tel Aviv on Monday evening, a spokesman confirmed to i24NEWS.

"Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sis Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice," a statement from the foreign ministry in Johannesburg said.

Turkey's government also recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Tel Aviv back to Ankara "for consultations" after President Tayyip Recep Erdogan's fierce criticism of the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Erdogan branded Israel a "terrorist state" and accused it of carrying out a genocide against the Palestinians.

Adrian DENNIS (AFP)

"Israel is wreaking state terror. Israel is a terror state," Erdogan told Turkish students in London in a speech broadcast by state television. "What Israel has done is a genocide. I condemn this humanitarian drama, the genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America," he added.

Ankara also withdrew its envoy in Tel Aviv in 2010 after an Israeli raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza, and did not appoint a new one until it reached a settlement with the Israeli government in 2016.

South Africa's government has also been fiercely critical of Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sixty Palestinians were killed and more than 2,400 wounded in Monday's clashes -- the single bloodiest day since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The dead included an eight-month-old baby who died of tear gas inhalation after being brought to the protests, as well as eight children under the age of 16, according to Gaza's health ministry.

The Israeli military says it only opens fire according to strict regulations and said that the protests have been hijacked by Hamas and other militant groups in order to carry out terror attacks and attempt to infiltrate into Israel.

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