Violence continues in Gaza strip as Israel rejects calls for independent probe

Israel rejected calls for an independent probe on Sunday after its soldiers killed 16 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more when a major demonstration led to clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Israel's military has faced questions from rights groups over its use of live fire on Friday, the bloodiest day in the conflict since a 2014 war, while Palestinians accused soldiers of firing on protesters posing no threat.

Both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini have called for an independent investigation.

On Saturday, the United States blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation of the violence, diplomats said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the soldiers for 'guarding the country's borders,' while Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the protests were not a 'Woodstock festival'.

People react as they evacuate deaf Palestinian Tahreer Abu Sabala, 17, who was shot and wounded in the head during clashes with Israeli troops near the Israel-Gaza border on Sunday

People react as they evacuate deaf Palestinian Tahreer Abu Sabala, 17, who was shot and wounded in the head during clashes with Israeli troops near the Israel-Gaza border on Sunday

Medical staff help an injured Palestinian man at an emergency medical tent after clashes with Israeli security forces

Medical staff help an injured Palestinian man at an emergency medical tent after clashes with Israeli security forces

A Palestinian man swings a sling shot during clashes with Israeli security forces after a demonstration near the Gaza border

A Palestinian man swings a sling shot during clashes with Israeli security forces after a demonstration near the Gaza border

Israel's military has faced questions over its use of live fire on Friday, the bloodiest day in the conflict since a 2014 war

Israel's military has faced questions over its use of live fire on Friday, the bloodiest day in the conflict since a 2014 war

Lieberman said calls for an independent investigation were hypocritical and on Sunday repeated his rejection of such a probe.

'There will be no commission of inquiry,' he told Israel's public radio.

'There will be no such thing here. We shall not cooperate with any commission of inquiry.'

Netanyahu also hit back at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his sharp criticism of what he called Israel's 'inhumane attack' in Gaza.

'The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately,' Netanyahu tweeted.

He has previously labelled Erdogan as someone who 'bombs Kurdish villagers'.

Erdogan responded later in the day by calling Netanyahu a 'terrorist.' 

On Friday, Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinians who strayed from a main protest camp attended by tens of thousands and approached the heavily fortified fence cutting off the blockaded Gaza Strip.

People help to carry Tahreer Abu Sabala, a Palestinian who was shot and wounded in the head during clashes with troops

People help to carry Tahreer Abu Sabala, a Palestinian who was shot and wounded in the head during clashes with troops

On Saturday, the United States blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation

On Saturday, the United States blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation

Palestinian protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli forces during clashes following a protest along the border

Palestinian protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli forces during clashes following a protest along the border

A Palestinian boy who was wounded at the border of Israel and Gaza is pictured at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City today

A Palestinian boy who was wounded at the border of Israel and Gaza is pictured at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City today

Medical staff help an injured Palestinian man after a demonstration near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, Gaza 

Medical staff help an injured Palestinian man after a demonstration near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, Gaza 

The military has defended actions of its soldiers and said they opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

It said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was also an attempted gun attack against soldiers along the border.

Israel accuses Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza and with whom it has fought three

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