Six Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza protests officials
Violence on Friday included incident where four Palestinians were shot dead after breaching security fence
Israeli forces have shot dead six Palestinians, including four in a single incident, in one of the deadliest days in months of mass protests along the security fence separating Gaza and Israel, Gazas health ministry said.
The ministry said four were killed in one location, where the Israeli military said it opened fire on Palestinians who breached the fence and approached an army post. No Israeli troops were harmed, the army added.
At least 140 Palestinians were wounded by live bullets, the ministry said.
The Israeli military said 14,000 Palestinians gathered at border fence areas, burning tires and throwing rocks, firebombs and grenades at soldiers stationed atop mounds on the other side of the barrier.
Since March, Hamas has orchestrated near-weekly protests along the fence, pressing for an end to a stifling Israel-Egyptian blockade imposed since the militant group wrested control of Gaza in 2007.
Hamas political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who attended a protest in east Gaza City, said that the determination of the Palestinian people will break the siege.
More than 150 Palestinians participating in or present at the marches have been killed since they began. In May, about 60 protesters were killed in a single day, making it one of the deadliest since a 2014 war between the two sides.
The blockade has restricted Hamas ability to govern and plagued most of Gazas 2 million residents. Electricity is supplied for roughly four hours a day, unemployment stands at more than 50% and tap water is unpotable.
Repeated attempts to reconcile Hamas and the West Bank-based administration of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, have all but faltered, increasing the desperation that has in large part fuelled the demonstrations.
This week, the United Nations began supervising deliveries of Qatari-donated diesel fuel meant to restart Gazas only power plant, but the station has yet to start working.
Hamas seeks a ceasefire with Israel securing an easing of the blockade but accuses its rivals in the West Bank of thwarting the effort. In recent weeks, it has stepped up its campaign, holding night-time protests and adding new locations such as along the beach. Hamas said the escalation of protests is a response to the unresolved ceasefire talks.