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Thousands of Palestinians staged a mass protest along Gaza's sealed border with Israel on Friday, some burning Israeli flags while Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and live bullets, killing one and wounding hundreds, from across the border fence.

Palestinians are still streaming to tent camps along Gaza's border with Israel for its third of what are to function as mass protests before mid-May.

Israel has accused Hamas, which governs Gaza, of using the protests as a pretext for violence.

Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border, and to stop any of the protesters getting across the fence.

Israel has responded with snipers firing live ammunition, as well as tank shelling and airstrikes.

Israeli forces have killed 33 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others on the two previous Fridays of protest on March 30 and April 6, when soldiers used live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas. There have been no Israeli casualties.

At least eight Palestinians were wounded, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said at around midday, with one shot in the head.

Organisers reject that Hamas is behind the protests, saying the rallies are independent and the Islamist movement is one of many groups involved.

On Thursday, the IDF said it bombed Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip, after an explosive device detonated near an Israeli army vehicle along the border on Wednesday.

Last Friday, among the nine dead was a journalist who witnesses said was wearing a press vest, sparking criticism of Israel.

Israel claimed he was a paid member of Hamas, but produced no evidence.

It subsequently turned out the company he co-founded had been vetted for USA government funding, while he was harassed and beaten by Hamas police in 2015.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the European Union have called for an independent investigation into the violence.

The White House has called on Palestinians to engage in exclusively peaceful protests and stay at least 500 meters from Gaza's border with Israel.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday there were "no naive" people among Gaza's two-million population.

Hamas officials have said in recent days they want this week's protest to see less bloodshed and hope to keep momentum building for May 14, when the United States is expected to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

What are they calling for?

Marchers protest against a decade-old blockade and assert what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.

It is a key issue for Palestinians, many of whom still have the keys of the homes their families were forced to leave.

For Israelis, 1948 marks the year of the creation of their state.

"We fully support the efforts of Palestinian people in stressing their rights, their return, that their capital is Jerusalem and to oppose the conspiracy deal, the so-called century deal".

The rallies are part of a six-week demonstration set to culminate on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment - an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".

What are causes of the protests? . The IDF expects protesters to throw Molotov cocktails and burn Israeli flags.

A Palestinian protestor prepares to set fire on Israeli flags on April 10, 2018 at the site of protests on the Israel-Gaza border east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.


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