THE Palestinian death toll in last week’s mass protest on the Gaza-Israel border has risen 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.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers have not said if the final aim of protests, which are to continue off-and-on for six weeks, is an attempted mass breach of the border fence.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday hinted at an escalation, saying last Friday’s protests had a “limit”, but that “next time, we won’t know where that line would be”.

Israel accused Islamic militants Hamas of trying to attack its border under the guise of protests.

Officials said Israel has a right to defend its border and that troops were instructed to target what the army described as the “main instigators”.

However, the military’s open-fire policies came under more scrutiny as two amateur videos emerged purportedly showing two Palestinians being shot – one killed and one wounded – while not posing any apparent threat.

In one video that spread on social media, a young man is seen being fatally shot from behind while running away from the border area carrying a tyre.