Thousands of people in the besieged Gaza Strip have attended the funerals of the four young Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during mass protests along the perimeter fence with Israel.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians on Saturday gathered at the fence to mark the first anniversary of the Great March of Return rallies, facing off against Israeli tanks and soldiers who used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters.

Tamer Abu el-Khair, 17, was shot in the chest east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and later died at a hospital, according to the health ministry in the coastal enclave, which has been under a crippling Israeli-Egypt blockade for the past 12 years.

Two other 17-year-olds – Adham Amara and Belal al-Najjar – were also killed. A fourth Palestinian, 20-year-old Mohamed Jihad Saad, was killed in an overnight protest before the main demonstration.

Since March 30 last year, Palestinians in the Hamas-run Strip have been demanding the right to return to lands from which their families were violently expelled during the founding of Israel in 1948. Protesters in the weekly rallies are also calling for an end to the blockade.

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