02:29 GMT01 December 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Israeli ambassador to Belgium Simona Frankel said that she had no intention to apologize for comparing Palestinians protesting on the Israel-Gaza Strip border to terrorists.

    "Why should I apologize, I say and repeat that these people were manipulated by a terrorist organization, they did not come freely. That's it, I do not know another word to describe people controlled by Hamas," Frankel told Het Laatste Nieuws in an interview.

    The Belgian Foreign Ministry summoned Frankel the day before over her statement. On Tuesday, Frankel said on RTBF broadcaster that she regrets any loss of human life, even if these were lives of "terrorists, who had approached the border fence in order to infiltrate into the Israeli territory."

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    The ambassador also held Hamas responsible for the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip.

    Since March 30, the Palestinians have been holding anti-Israeli protests near the Gaza border. The Israeli forces have meanwhile been suppressing the demonstrators, citing security concerns. Over 100 Palestinians have been killed and over 12,000 others have been wounded by the Israeli forces since the onset of the riots.

    Mass protests erupted in Gaza in light of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel and the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. During the clashes more than 60 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 others wounded. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning after Monday's bloodshed.

    Hamas, which is listed as a terrorist organization in a number of countries, including the United States and Israel, gained control of the Gaza Strip after a short war with Fatah in 2007. Israel held Hamas responsible for numerous attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip.


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