Eyewitnesses said the protesters walked closer to the border fence, where dozens of Israeli soldiers and snipers had been deployed at the other side.
The demonstrators threw stones at the Israeli armed forces, who fired back tear gas canisters as well as live and rubber-coated metal bullets.
The spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement that four Palestinians lost their lives and more than 880 others sustained injuries during the anti-occupation protest on the fifth Friday of a six-week protest, known as the “Great March of Return.”
He identified one of the deceased as 29-year-old Abdelsalam Bakr, adding that he was a resident of Khuza’a town east of Khan Yunis. The identities of the two other victims have not been determined yet.
Qidra further noted that four protesters are in a critical condition at al-Shifa Hospital in the centre of Gaza City.
Protests along the Gaza border since March 30 have led to clashes with Israeli forces in which at least 38 Palestinians have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries.
The Palestinian rally will last until May 15, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) on which Israel was created.
Every year on May 15, Palestinians all over the world hold demonstrations to commemorate Nakba Day, which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.
More than 760,000 Palestinians – now estimated to number nearly five million with their descendants – were driven out of their homes on May 14, 1948.
Since 1948, the Israeli regime has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, despite UN resolutions and international law that uphold people’s right to return to their homelands.
This year’s Land Day demonstrations appear especially combustible as Palestinian anger is already high over Trump’s decision in December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”
Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and parts of Syria’s Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.
Israel is required to withdraw from all the territories seized in the war under UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted months after the Six-Day War, in November 1967, but the Tel Aviv regime has defied that piece of international law ever since.