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Syria and Israel trade claims over deadly Golan clash

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Syria and Israel trade claims over deadly Golan clash
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In Syria they have been burying demonstrators who were killed in clashes with Israeli troops in the disputed Golan Heights.

Israel has accused Syria of orchestrating the pro-Palestinian protests to divert world attention from its own fearsome crackdown on the popular revolt there.

Damascus claimed 23 people — including a woman and a child — were killed, and 350 were wounded when Israeli forces fired on crowds who were moving on the boundary fence at Majdal Shams.

Israel disputes the figures.

The action coincided with the 44th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights in 1967.

Although the two countries are technically still at war, the area had remained peaceful until the middle of May, when Syrian demonstrators breached the border and held a brief rally behind the lines.

Israel immediately began to strengthen its defences and warned that it would use lethal force.

A news agency journalist there on the anniversary reported seeing Israeli snipers firing at demonstrators and 10 people taken away on stretchers by fellow protesters.

Israel’s civil defence minister claimed it would be impossible to reach the border on the Syrian side without clear authority from the government in Damascus.