March 31 (UPI) -- The leader of the United Nations is calling for a probe into clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters in Gaza that left 16 dead and hundreds wounded.
Spokesman Farhan Haq said that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "deeply concerned about the clashes at the Gaza fence," which left 16 dead and more than 1,400 wounded Friday, according to Gaza's health ministry. Haq said Guterres wants an "independent and transparent" investigation into the clashes
"This tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process aiming at creating the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations for a peaceful solution that will allow Palestinians and Israelis to live side by side peacefully and in security," Haq said.
Health ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra told The Guardian that most of the killed Palestinians were between 17 and 35 years old.
Friday's violence broke out amidst a series of mass demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border, called the March of Return, marking the 42nd anniversary of Israeli soldiers killing six Arab Israelis protesting the Jewish use of Arab lands.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called for a day of mourning Saturday and asked for the United Nations to provide protection for the demonstrators.