The Palestinian death toll from Israeli live fire in protests along the Gaza-Israel border on Monday rose to 52, a Palestinian health ministry official said.
It was the highest toll in a single day since a series of such protests demanding the right to return to ancestral homes in Israel began on March 30.
Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said the dead included six children under the age of 18. About 2,400 Palestinians had been wounded, about half of them by live bullets.
Tens of thousands streamed to the coastal enclave’s land border on Monday, some approaching the Israeli fence - a line Israeli leaders said Palestinians would not be allowed to breach. Clouds of black smoke from tyres set alight by demonstrators rose in the air.
Demonstrators, some armed with slingshots, hurled stones at the Israeli security forces, who fired volleys of tear gas and intense rounds of gunfire.
“Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever,” said Gaza science teacher Ali, who declined to give his last name.