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RAMALLAH, June 13, 2018 (MENA) - At least eight Palestinians were injured Wednesday during clashes with Israeli occupation forces at al-Am'ari refugee camp in Ramallah with most of them suffering bullet wounds, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

The Israeli troops also arrested a Palestinian man, 32, under the pretext of killing an Israeli soldier at al-Am'ari camp three weeks ago.

Khartoum, April 28, 2018 (AFP) - An insurgent group in Darfur claimed Saturday to have repelled government forces in fresh clashes in the war-torn region of western Sudan that the US says have displaced thousands of civilians.

The new fighting, in the Jebel Marra mountains, comes despite a ceasefire unilaterally announced by Khartoum in early March, applying to Darfur and another conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

"The regime's military tried to take our positions but we repulsed them," Noureddine Kouki, a spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid rebel group, told AFP.

Washington confirmed on Friday fresh clashes have taken place in recent days, saying it was "deeply concerned" by the violence.

"There are credible reports that villages were targeted for attack ... resulting in thousands of newly displaced civilians," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Friday.

The fighting is between the SLA/AW group and Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra mountains and it has sent villagers fleeing into mountain hideouts and caves, the rebels say.

An insurgency began in Darfur in 2003, as rebels rose up against Sudan's government, accusing it of marginalisation.

Khartoum responded by using militias to crack down on rebels and since then, insurgent groups have fragmented, with fighting punctuated by periods of relative calm.

"We call on all sides -- the government of Sudan forces, SLA/AW and armed tribal groups -- to immediately halt their provocative actions and violent responses," said Nauert.

She also urged Khartoum to allow "immediate and unhindered" access to peacekeepers and aid agencies to enable them to deliver humanitarian aid to those displaced by violence.

Khartoum restricts international media access to Darfur, an area about the size of France, so it is not possible to independently verify the details of fighting there. Sudanese authorities could not be reached for comment.

The United Nations says that over the years the conflict has killed about 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million, with many having set up home over the last decade and a half in sprawling semi-permanent camps.

Khartoum insists the conflict has ended in Darfur. A joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force is being downscaled, now standing at around 10,000 uniformed personnel, from a peak of about 27,000.

A separate conflict erupted in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, both bordering South Sudan, in 2011.

KACHIN, Myanmar, April 28, 2018 (AFP) - Thousands of people have
fled renewed fighting between Myanmar's army and ethnic insurgents in
the country's remote north, a United Nations official said on Saturday,
as a long-simmering conflict intensifies.

More than 4,000 people have been displaced in Myanmar's northernmost
state of Kachin near the border with China in the last three weeks, Mark
Cutts, the head of the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), told AFP late Friday.

The numbers do not include some 15,000 people who have fled since
the beginning of the year and upwards of 90,000 residing in IDP
(internally displaced persons) camps in both Kachin and Shan states
since a ceasefire between the government and the powerful Kachin
Independence Army broke down in 2011.

"We have received reports from local organisations saying that there are
still many civilians who remain trapped in conflict-affected areas", Cutts
said of the recent clashes.

"Our biggest concern is for the safety of civilians -- including pregnant
women, the elderly, small children and people with disabilities. We must
ensure that these people are protected."

OCHA has been unable to verify reports that civilians have been killed
in the fighting.

In addition to the Rohingya crisis in the western part of mainly Buddhist
Myanmar, the country's conflict-hit north has also played host to clashes
involving other ethnic minorities, which rarely make headlines.

Myanmar's border areas have been unstable since its independence from
British colonial rule in 1948, hosting a dizzying array of insurgencies,
local militias, and drug-running operations.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said making peace was her
priority when she took office in 2016 after decades of military rule but
progress has been slow.

Ethnic armed groups are demanding more autonomy and control from a
country in which the Burmese hold major positions of power in politics
and the armed forces.

Rights groups say the army has stepped up its campaign in remote areas
of Myanmar amid the Rohingya crisis, which has seen some 700,000
people flee to Bangladesh.

The US and the UN have called the military crackdown ethnic cleansing,
while Myanmar denies the claims and says it was defending itself against
Rohingya insurgents.

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories), April 23, 2018 (AFP) - Two Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israel were pronounced dead on Monday, a Gaza official said, bringing the toll from Israeli fire since the end of March to 40.

A spokesman for the Hamas-controlled territory's health ministry named the latest fatalities as Tahrir Wahada, 18, and Abdullah Shamali, 20.

Wahada was shot in the head in a clash east of Khan Yunis on April 6, and Shamali died of "bullet wounds to his belly" sustained on Friday, according to the spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

Most of the 40 Palestinians killed by Israel since the start of "March of Return" protests on March 30 were shot by snipers on the border, while a few others were killed by Israeli artillery or air strikes.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave,  have gathered at the border on consecutive Fridays to call for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

Some protestors have launched stones or burning tyres at Israeli soldiers.

Israeli forces have responded with live ammunition, wounding hundreds in addition to those killed.

The Israeli army says its fores only open fire in self-defence or to stop protestors attempting to breach the barrier separating the territory from Israel.

More than 440 demonstrators suffered bullet wounds or gas inhalation on Friday, rescuers said.

Israel has drawn harsh criticism from rights groups along with calls for investigations by the United Nations or the European Union.

Israel has for more than a decade imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza, fighting three wars with Hamas since 2008.

GAZA, April 14, 2018 (Reuters) - An explosion in the southern Gaza Strip killed four Palestinians on Saturday, the local health ministry said.Medics at the scene in the Rafah area said it was caused by an Israeli tank shell. But an Israeli military spokesman said the army was not involved. “We have no knowledge of any Israeli strike in the area,” he said.

Local residents at the hospital morgue identified the four dead men as members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group. Islamic Jihad did not immediately confirm the men were members.

Violence has flared in the Gaza Strip since March 30, when Palestinians began protests along the border area with Israel.

Protesters have set up tented camps near the frontier as a protest dubbed “The Great March of Return” - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel - moved into its third week. Israel has declared a no-go zone close to the Gaza border fence.

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005. The Palestinian enclave is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement, designated by Israel and the West as a terrorist group.

Citing security concerns, Israel maintains a naval blockade of the coastal territory, keeping tight restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and goods across the frontier.

Clashes erupted as thousands protested for a third consecutive Friday along Gaza's border with Israel amid violence in which Israeli forces have killed 34 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others.

The numbers of protesters were smaller than in previous weeks, though still substantial and with Gaza's health ministry reporting dozens more Palestinians wounded and one killed by Israeli gunfire.

Islam Herzallah, 28, died in hospital after being shot by Israeli troops east of Gaza City, the ministry said.

Clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli soldiers took place in multiple spots along the border while tear gas and plumes of black smoke from burning tyres filled the air in some areas.

More than 500 people were wounded, including 122 from gunfire, according to Gaza's health ministry, with the other injuries including those from tear gas.

Two journalists were wounded by gunfire, the Palestinian journalists' syndicate said, a week after a Gazan journalist was killed.

Israel's army estimated the number of people "rioting" at 10,000 and alleged there were attempts to damage and breach the border fence, while it said firebombs and explosive devices were used.

Palestinians also sought to pull away barbed wire set up by Israeli forces to keep them away from the fence, an AFP journalist said.

The military said soldiers responded "with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with the rules of engagement." It distributed a photo of "a terrorist wielding an item suspected of being an explosive device," but an AFP journalist who witnessed the event said it was a firework that did not explode.

GAZA BORDER, April 13, 2018 - Israeli troops yesterday shot and wounded 30 Palestinians during a large protest on the Gaza-Israel border  in which demonstrators hurled stones and burning tyres near the frontier fence, Palestinian medics said.

Some in the Gaza crowd threw firebombs and an explosive device, according to the Israeli military.

Thousands of Palestinians arrived at tented camps near the frontier as a protest dubbed “The Great March of Return” - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel - moved into its third week.

Israeli troops have shot dead 30 Gaza Palestinians and wounded hundreds since the protests began, drawing international criticism of the lethal tactics used against them.

Yesterday, groups of youths waved Palestinian flags and burnt hundreds of tyres and Israeli flags near the fenced-off border after Friday prayers. At one camp east of Gaza City, youths carried on their shoulders a coffin wrapped in an Israeli flag bearing the words “The End of Israel”.

Israel has declared a no-go zone close to the Gaza border fence, and deployed army sharpshooters along it.

Human rights groups told Reuters that the Israeli military has used live fire against demonstrators who pose no immediate threat to life.

The protest began on March 30, and is expected to culminate on May 15.

That is the day Palestinians will mark the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba” or “Catastrophe”, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced amid violence culminating in war between newly created Israel and its Arab neighbors in May 1948.

Successive Israeli governments have ruled out any right of return, fearing the country would lose its Jewish majority.

“Some people believe we are idiots to think the Israelis will allow us in, they may not, but we will not stop trying to return,” said a protester, 37-year-old civil servant Ahmed, as he stood on a hilltop overlooking the Israeli fence.

Like most of the 2 million Palestinians packed into the tiny, impoverished Gaza Strip, Ahmed is a descendant of refugees from Jaffa, a coastal town in Israel just south of Tel Aviv.

“No peace, no jobs, no unity and no future, so what difference would death make? If we are going to die, then let it not be in vain,” said Ahmed, who refused to give his full name, fearing Israeli reprisals.

The marches have been organized by Hamas, but large turnouts on two preceding Fridays were also driven by desperation among the territory's 2 million residents. Gaza has endured a border blockade by Israel since Hamas overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections.

The blockade has driven Gaza deeper into poverty, with unemployment approaching 50 per cent and electricity available for less than five hours a day. The marchers are protesting against the blockade, but are also asserting what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel.

Several thousand people gathered Friday at a tent camp east of Gaza City. The camp was decked out in Palestinian flags. At the entrance, organizers had laid a large Israeli flag on the ground for protesters to step on.

In the camp, 37-year-old construction worker Omar Hamada said he is protesting to draw world attention to Gaza and get the border reopened.

 "We want to live like everyone else in the world," he said. "We came here so the world can see us and know that life here is miserable, and that there should be a solution."

Hamada was critical of Hamas, saying the group has set back Gaza by decades, but added that "this is the reality and we have to deal with it."

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