Israeli Army uses tear gas against Palestinian protesters (photo credit: Reuters)

The United States has blamed Hamas for violent protests in Gaza that saw 55 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops on Monday.

The White House said the Jewish state had the right to defend itself.

Advertise With Us

Palestinian officials say Israeli military killed 55 people and wounded 2,700 in the deadliest violence in Gaza since 2014.

But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his troops was acting in self-defence against Hamas, Islamist rulers in Gaza.

The latest violence between these two rivals followed the US opening of a controversial embassy in Jerusalem.

President Donald Trump had announced the embassy move on 6 December, which immediately sparked violent protests.

“Big day for Israel. Congratulations!” Trump said via Twitter on Monday.

“We celebrate history in the making,” said Vice President Mike Pence. “America stands with Israel!”

And in an afternoon press briefing, the White House blamed the fatalities on the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters.