Four Palestinians dead in Gaza explosion: health ministry

Martyrs in Gaza Resist Israel's 'Flagrant Violations of International Law' (Audio)

A Palestinian was killed and more than 200 others wounded during clashes with Israeli troops as thousands gathered in protest along the Gaza-Israel border.

Jason Greenblatt, the USA envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, said in a statement, "We condemn leaders and protesters who call for violence or who send protesters - including children - to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed".

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 30 Palestinians were injured on Friday amid attempts by the Israeli army to disperse demonstrators.

The protests, planned to last six weeks, are calling for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes, now inside Israel. The protests are to culminate in a large rally on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel's creation.

The Israeli army has called the protesters "violent rioters and terrorists", and said it was firing only in accordance with its protocols and to prevent damage to Israel's "defense infrastructures".

Israel and Egypt have enforced a blockade since Hamas overran the territory in 2007.

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On Friday, groups of youths waved Palestinian flags and burnt hundreds of tyres and Israeli flags near the fenced-off border after Friday prayers.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Friday "there are fewer riots on our border", adding that "our resolve is well-understood on the other side". "An order to open live fire at unarmed protesters is manifestly unlawful", it said. The Ministry said a total of 969 were injured on Friday.

Two journalists were wounded by gunfire, the Palestinian journalists' syndicate said, a week after a Gazan journalist was killed. He said the Israeli military is "operating against it (Hamas) with determination and according to global law".

Human rights groups have said soldiers can only use lethal force if they face an apparent imminent threat to their lives.

In the camp, 37-year-old construction worker Omar Hamada said he is protesting to draw world attention to Gaza and get the border reopened. "Palestinian women are always at the forefront", she said proudly.

The five ex-snipers in the statement were identified by name.

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