Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian who was killed during clashes with Israeli troops near the border, during his funeral in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Picture: Wissam Nassar/Xinhua

Tshwane - The South African government on Wednesday condemned the "latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces in Gaza" which has led to the deaths of at least 17 Palestinian citizens and many others injured.   

"South Africa reiterates its view that the Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories," International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said.

She said South Africa maintains further that the violence in the Gaza Strip will stand in the way of rebuilding Palestinian institutions and infrastructure.

"The actions of the Israeli armed forces present yet another obstacle to a permanent resolution to the conflict, which must come in the form of two states, Palestine and Israel, existing side-by-side and in peace," Sisulu said.

"South Africa aligns itself with those members of the United Nations calling for an independent inquiry into the killings, with a view to holding to account those who are responsible."

Last week, tens of thousands of Palestinians marched near the border between the eastern Gaza Strip and Israel - marking the first in a series of six-week-long planned protests.

Apart from the deceased, more than 1 400 people were reportedly injured in the skirmishes.

The demonstrations on Friday were part of the annual “Land Day” or “the Great March of Return” of Palestinians, which started in 1976 as a protest against the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian lands.

African News Agency/ANA