Following Killing of 15-year-old on Gaza Border, Israeli Defense Chief Says Soldiers Have 'Total Support'

'We've passed the fourth week (of protests), we draw conclusions after every week. I was there myself and saw how the soldiers operate. The way our soldiers function inspires respect'

The mother of 15-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Ayoub, who was shot and killed by Israeli security forces during clashes along the Israel-Gaza border
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that "there is total support for Israeli soldiers and every incident is investigated." This follows international criticism of the killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Ayoub during protests near the Gaza border on Friday.

According to Lieberman, "We've passed the fourth week (of protests), we draw conclusions after every week. I was there myself and saw how the soldiers operate. The way our soldiers function inspires respect." On Friday, U.S. President Trump's envoy to the Middle East peace negotiations Jason Greenblatt said Israel initiated a probe into Ayoub's death.

Lieberman claimed Hamas "holds prisoners and doesn't allow anyone to see them, the European Union is also not shocked by Hamas heads hiding behind women and children, sending them as human shields, and then is later surprised when there are casualties."

On Friday, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov condemned the teenager's killing, which Gaza's Health Ministry said was a result of Israeli live fire. Mladenov described the incident as outrageous and said "the killing of a child" in Gaza "fuels anger and breeds more killing." The following day, The EU joined criticism of Israel, admonishing the killing of four Palestinians during Friday's protests and calling for a "full investigation" into the circumstances surrounding Ayoub's death.