Deadly clashes erupt as hundreds of Palestinians storm Israeli border fence

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He is the fourth Palestinian to be shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during Friday border protests bringing the total killed so far since the start of the Great Return March protests on March 30 to 44.

Al Jazeera's reported that "Thousands of people stood right at the border, then we heard the Israeli forces opening live fire".

Gaza medical officials said two protesters hit by bullets were in critical condition and 600 more were wounded.

B'Tselem's El-Ad stressed that "extensive past experience clearly demonstrates that the recently announced Israeli "investigation" of some of these fatalities is nothing more than a whitewash mechanism", and "part of a façade created to give the impression that Israel is abiding by its legal obligation to investigate".

The Israeli military said soldiers fired because the protests had turned into "riots".

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called the loss of life deplorable. In other scenes, a small group lobs stones at an Israeli military vehicle on the other side of the fence.

In what the military said was a direct response, Israeli warplanes on Friday night attacked "six military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organisation's naval force in the Gaza Strip".

Zeid said Israel must hold to account those responsible for the deaths.

Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza, accuses Israel of assassinating al-Batsh.

For the fifth week in a row, Palestinians have been clashing with the Israeli forces. "Israel's failure to consistently prosecute violations committed by members of its security forces, encourages them to use deadly force against their fellow unarmed human beings, even when they present no threat".

The protests are continuing until May 16, which marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel through the forced expulsion of three quarters of a million Palestinians from their homes in 1948.

A relatives of Palestinian scientist Fadi al-Batsh reacts while holding his 14 month-old son Muhammed during the official ceremony of his body's arrival into the Gaza Strip from Egypt at the Rafah crossing border, Thursday, April 26, 2018.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the deaths along Gaza's border, with the army saying its troops only use live ammunition as a last resort.

Among the wounded, 178 were shot with live ammunition on Friday while others sustained injuries from rubber-coated steel rounds, or required treatment for tear gas exposure.

The Israeli army said in a statement issued on Friday overnight that Hamas led hundreds of rioters in a violent mass infiltration attempt towards Israeli territory, during which they "hurled explosive devices, hand grenades and firebombs at IDF troops and attempted to set the security fence on fire". This restriction of movement has been devastating on the Palestinian population, with 80 percent of the Gaza citizens relying on food aid as reported by the World Bank.

"These trends call into question to what extent the ISF's rules of engagement, which are not public, are in line with global law, or at least to what degree the ISF abides by its own rules", said Zeid. The blockade has gutted Gaza's economy.