Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his troops for "guarding the country's borders" after a mass Gaza frontier protest led to clashes that left 16 Palestinians dead.
"Well done to our soldiers," he wrote in a statement on Saturday. "Israel acts vigorously and with determination to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens."
Earlier in the day, Israel said it will target militant groups inside Gaza if violence along the territory's border continues.
The clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops are the area's deadliest violence in four years.
The United Nations has called for "an independent and transparent investigation" into the clashes, in which more than 1,400 were reportedly injured.
The violence petered down on Saturday as small groups of Palestinians threw stones in several areas near the border fence, drawing Israeli fire and tear gas that injured 25 people, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
Palestinians are staging six weeks of sit-ins along the border to mark Land Day - an annual commemoration of the killing of six Arab Israelis during 1976 demonstrations against Israeli confiscations of Arab land.
The Israeli army said it estimated some 30,000 demonstrators were taking part in the protests on Friday.
The mass marches were largely led by Gaza's ruling Hamas group.
The demonstrations are set to culminate in a large border march on 15 May - the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding.
The date is mourned by Palestinians as their "nakba," or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were uprooted in the 1948 war over Israel's creation.
Five tent encampments have been set up, each several hundred meters from the border, to serve as launch points for protest.
In two separate incidents, a member of the press saw two men who walked close to the fence get shot in the legs by soldiers.
Palestinian health officials said 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and more than 750 hit by live rounds on Friday, making it the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas.
On Saturday, chief army spokesman Ronen Manelis denied soldiers used excessive force, saying those killed by Israeli troops were men between the ages of 18 and 30 who were involved in violence and belonged to militant factions.
He alleged Gaza health officials exaggerated the number of wounded, and that several dozen at most were injured by live fire, with others suffering from tear gas inhalation or other types of injuries.
Mr Manelis said soldiers knew who they were shooting at and how many people were hit by live fire.
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