GAZA CITY: — The Palestinian death toll in last week’s mass protest on the Gaza-Israel border rose to 18, officials said, as Israel rejected allegations of unlawful use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.

More than 750 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire in Friday’s protest, according to Gaza health officials, making it the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war.

The Palestinian death toll since the start of the conflict passed 274, including at least 28 who were killed overnight, according to health officials in Gaza, with more than 2,000 injured. Israel launched air strikes against more than 100 targets overnight.

Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said the number of displaced Gazans had almost doubled in the past 24 hours with more than 40,000 seeking sanctuary with the UN.

Hamas has warned Israel of “dreadful consequences” of the conflict’s escalation. A statement issued by the Palestinian group warned: “We’re with you in the field, and we aren’t afraid of the ground assault.”



The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was visiting Turkey on Friday for talks on a ceasefire to halt Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip after meetings on Thursday with the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, as well as a senior Hamas official in Cairo.

Turkey, a long-time supporter of the Palestinian Islamist movement, is trying to use its influence to stop the fighting. On Thursday Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at both the UN and other Muslim countries for not taking action to stop the Israeli offensive against Gaza, which he said amounted to “systematic genocide“.