At least one Palestinian has been killed and 40 wounded in clashes along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. The violence follows the killing of 19 Palestinians by Israeli forces during violent demonstrations in the same area a week ago.
Thousands of Palestinians held a mass protest on the Gaza border, where they were confronted by Israeli troops.
Soldiers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to prevent a breach of the border fence.
The protesters burned tires near the fence, as thick black smoke rose into the air.
Demonstrator Muhammad al-Tramsi said that by burning tires, Palestinians hoped to blind Israeli snipers. He said he is not afraid to die.
Israel has warned that any attempt to breach the fence and bring a flood of Palestinians across the border is a red line that will not be tolerated.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman described the protests as a provocation and warned that anyone approaching the border fence is putting his life at risk.
The United Nations, European Union and human rights groups charge that firing at unarmed demonstrators is an excessive use of force, but Israel has rejected their demands for an inquiry.
The Islamic militant group Hamas which rules Gaza says the protests are aimed at highlighting Israel’s crippling blockade on the coastal territory as well as the so-called “right of return”: the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes in Israel.
The weekly demonstrations are due to conclude in mid-May with a mass march on Israel’s 70th anniversary.