Gaza City/Tel Aviv - Nine Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured by Israeli army gunfire during protests on Friday, as thousands gathered along the Gaza-Israeli border.
Among the dead were a 16-year-old and a Palestinian journalist, Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry, said Saturday.
Since last Friday, at least 31 Palestinians have died in connection with tensions along the border, in the Gaza Strip's bloodiest week in years.
Most of the deaths occurred during last week's protests, which also saw hundreds injured.
The Israeli army has said that it stopped multiple attempts to breach the border fence and was "responding with riot dispersal means, and fire in accordance with the rules of engagement."
Gazans camped along the border and set thousands of tyres ablaze, using the thick smoke and mirrors to obscure the vision of Israeli army snipers.
Pillars of black smoke emanated from the Gaza Strip as roughly 20,000 Gazans gathered around the border area and smaller groups of mostly young men pushed towards the border fence.
The demonstrators are staging a six-week protest, dubbed the "Great March of Return," to call for a return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants who fled or were expelled from their homes in present-day Israel in the 1948 war that marked Israel's creation.
Nearly 500 Palestinians were injured, 33 seriously, by live fire and rubber bullets on Friday, al-Qedra said, and many more suffered from tear gas inhalation.