GAZA CITY - Six Palestinians were killed in new clashes along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

The Israeli army said five were shot dead after breaking through the border fence and attacking an army post. A spokesman for the Palestinian health ministry said six Palestinian men were killed as thousands of protesters approached the heavily-guarded Israeli border.

Four died along the frontier east of Al-Bureij in central Gaza, one east of Gaza City and one near Rafah in southern Gaza, the spokesman said, adding that all the victims were men aged between 17 and 29.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter an “organised attack” had involved around 20 Palestinians crossing the border after an explosive device destroyed a portion of the fence. Five then tried to attack an army base and were shot, he said.

The army said approximately 14,000 “rioters and demonstrators” took part in Friday’s protests. At least 204 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests began on March 30.

The majority were killed during border demonstrations, though others have died in airstrikes and tank shelling. One Israeli soldier has been killed.

The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to lands now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of the Jewish state. They are also calling for Israel to end its crippling blockade of the strip.

Israel accuses the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas of leading the protests and using them as a cover for attacks. There had been hopes the protests would ease after a UN-brokered agreement to ease the strip’s energy crisis took effect this week.

However thousands again gathered Friday in sites along the border, AFP correspondents said. They added that Hamas leader Ismail Haniya also attended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the ongoing demonstrations.

Palestinian prisoner dies in Israeli prison

A Palestinian prisoner from the southern Gaza Strip town of Hebron died on Friday in an Israeli prison, a senior Palestinian official told Xinhua.

Qadoura Fares, chairman of the Palestinian Prisoner Club Association, said that prisoner Wissam Shalaldeh, 28 years old from Hebron, died in the Israeli prison of "Rimon." Fares said that Shalaldeh is serving a seven-year imprisonment in the Israeli prison, adding that he already spent three years of his sentence.

The Israeli Prisons Services has already informed the prisoner's family that it moved the body of Shalaldeh to the main Israeli Autopsy Institute in Jerusalem to find out the reason behind his death, according to Fares.

The Palestinian official held the Israeli authorities "fully responsible" for the death of Shalaldeh "amid the endless violations of the Israeli Prisons Services to the rights of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and prisons."

There has been no immediate Israeli comment to the death of the prisoner. Shalaldeh is the fourth Palestinian prisoner died in Israeli prisons since January 2018, according to the figures of Fares's association. Israel holds in its prisons, jails and detention camps some 7,000 Palestinian and Arab prisoners. Dozens of them have spent more than two decades behind the bars.

Israel upholds ban on US student refused entry for 10 days

An Israeli court on Friday upheld a ban on a US student refused entry and held for 10 days over her alleged support for a pro-Palestinian boycott campaign.

Lara Alqasem's case has been one of the most high profile so far under a 2017 Israeli law barring supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. In its ruling, the court said that "any self-respecting state defends its own interests and those of its citizens, and has the right to fight against the actions of a boycott... as well as any attacks on its image."

It rejected Alqasem's appeal against the ban, but did not rule on whether she should be sent home.

The 22-year-old has been held for 10 days at an immigration facility in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. Alqasem landed there on October 2, intending to study for a master's degree at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, but was not allowed to enter despite having a visa.

She was detained but chose to challenge the entry ban rather than return to the United States.

In March 2017, Israel's parliament passed a law banning the entry of supporters of the BDS movement, inspired by an international campaign against South Africa before the fall of apartheid. Alqasem, reportedly of Palestinian descent, is said to have been president of a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine during her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida. The group has supported boycott campaigns against Israel.

Israel captures Palestinian knife attack suspect

Israeli forces detained a Palestinian suspected of stabbing and wounding a soldier but a manhunt continued for a second Palestinian who shot dead two Israeli civilians, the army said Friday.

The army spokesman's office released video it said had been taken late on Thursday showing a cuffed and blindfolded man being led by soldiers in what appears to be a military facility.

"A short while ago, the terrorist who committed the terror attack... this afternoon was caught," regional commander Colonel Sagiv Dahan said in the Hebrew-language clip.

An army spokesman told AFP that details of the suspect and his arrest were being withheld for the time being as his interrogation was still in progress.

He is suspected of stabbing and wounding an army reservist on guard at a junction near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday afternoon.

A civilian was moderately wounded from shrapnel when soldiers fired in the direction of the fleeing assailant, the army said.