TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Israeli troops shot and wounded about 70 Palestinians among crowds demonstrating against the Israeli occupation at the Gaza-Israel border on Saturday, health officials said, after one of the deadliest days of unrest in the area in years.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that the Israeli forces had opened fire at protesters in different Gaza cities, among them Jabalia, Rafah, Khan Yunis and Beit Hanoun.

All the injured were taken to Gaza hospitals, the ministry added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel was responsible for the violence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Israel was protecting its so-called sovereignty and citizens.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was checking the details of Saturday’s unrest. It broke out when Palestinians gathered on the border between the enclave and Israel. Palestinian health officials said about 70 were wounded.

On Friday, around 30,000 Gazans marched to the fence with the occupied territories at the start of a six-week protest, dubbed "The Great March of Return,"  demanding the right to return to their homeland.

The rallies coincided with the 42nd anniversary of Land Day, which commemorates the murder of six Palestinians by Israeli forces in 1976.

Friday's demonstrations turned violent after Israeli forces used tear gas and live fire to force back demonstrators who had approached within a few hundred meters of the heavily-fortified fence.

The clashes left 17 Palestinians dead and over 1,400 others injured in Gaza in what was the single deadliest day in the Israel-Palestine conflict since the 2014 war.

The Return rallies culminate on May 15, the day Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven out of their homes in 1948, the year Israel was created.

Israel's Friday massacre of the Palestinians drew condemnations worldwide, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling for “an independent and transparent investigation” into the incident.