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May 26, 2018

Guatemala opens Israel embassy in Jerusalem after US move

Guatemala opens Israel embassy in Jerusalem after US move
'Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales (C-L) and his wife Hilda Patricia Marroquin (L) pose with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C-R) and his wife Sara (R) ahead of the opening of Guatemala's embassy in Jerusalem on May 16, 2018' - By: POOL/AFP RONEN ZVULUN

Guatemala inaugurated its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, becoming the first country to follow in the footsteps of the United States' deeply controversial move.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales were among officials attending an inauguration ceremony at the new embassy at an office park in the disputed city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US and Guatemalan moves break with decades of international consensus.

Netanyahu profusely praised the Central American nation for making the move and noted it came only two days after the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

The Israeli premier said he would visit Guatemala on his next visit to Latin America.

The US embassy move on Monday was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border that saw Israeli forces kill 60 Palestinians.

Israel has faced international criticism over its use of live fire, but says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltrations from the Palestinian enclave, which is run by Islamist movement Hamas.

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