Many of those killed were militants, said Israel, which stationed sharpshooters on the frontier to stop Palestinians attempting "any breach of the security infrastructure and fence, which protects Israeli civilians."
David Keyes, an Israeli government spokesperson, accused Hamas of having instigated violent protests along the border. "This is a travesty for the Palestinian people that the Hamas government is encouraging its people to attack Israel, it is encouraging its people to commit acts of violence," he said.
Israel said it is doing what it must to defend its border and that its troops have been responding with riot dispersal means and fire "in accordance with the rules of engagement."
Israel has been the target of thousands of rocket strikes from Gaza over the past few years. Palestinian militant groups have also dug tunnels under the border barrier to smuggle weapons, and to launch attacks.