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Israel faces diplomatic fallout after dozens killed in Gaza

AP  |  Gaza City 

faced a growing backlash today and new charges of using excessive force, a day after Israeli troops firing from across a border fence killed 59 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,700 at a mass protest in

expelled Israel's ambassador, while and summoned Israeli envoys. Leading European countries and the UN human rights office called for an investigation of the bloodshed, and the held a moment of silence for the Palestinians killed yesterday as it opened discussions on the situation.

says it has the right to defend its border against a possible mass breach and accuses Gaza's rulers of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests. A military said Tuesday that 14 of those killed a day earlier were involved in attacks.

Yesterday marked the deadliest day in since a 2014 cross-border war with Israel, and was part of a high-stakes campaign by the Islamic militant to break a decade-long border blockade.

Gaza Health Ministry, which provided the toll from yesterday's violence, said a 9-month-old girl died from tear gas exposure, but medical officials later cast doubt on that claim, saying the infant had a pre-existing medical condition. It remained unclear Tuesday where and how the child died.

In jarring contrast to the Gaza bloodshed, the US held a festive inauguration ceremony for a new in contested at the same time Monday, just several dozen miles (kilometers) away.

The juxtaposition of violence on the Gaza border and festivities attended by a delegation -- captured on split screens in TV broadcasts around the world -- briefly drew attention to the plight of Gaza and its 2 million people.

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv, condemned by Palestinians as blatantly pro-Israel, further dimmed prospects of what had once touted as plans to negotiate the "deal of the century." The Palestinians seek Israeli-annexed east as a capital.

The high casualty toll revived international criticism of Israel's open-fire policies. Rights groups have said the use of potentially lethal force against protesters who pose no immediate threat to soldiers' lives is unlawful. The military has said presumably less are not effective in keeping demonstrators from the fence.

Germany, and called for an investigation of the violence.

In Brussels, called the Israeli actions "unacceptable violence" and said there was a "clear lack of proportionality."

Michel said the violence and killings would be moved onto the calendar of the summit in on Wednesday and Thursday.

German said the violence "concerns us greatly," but also accused of cynically escalating the unrest.

summoned the Israeli to express "shock and dismay."

asked Israel's to leave temporarily and the country lowered flags to half-mast to mark three days of mourning. called on to exercise restraint. yesterday recalled its to Israel until further notice.

The UN human rights office said Israel has repeatedly violated international norms by using deadly live fire to repel protesters from its border with Gaza, suggesting its forces should instead arrest those who reach the fence.

The met today to discuss the violence, beginning with a moment of silence at the suggestion of Poland, the current council

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 22:35 IST