Warning: Graphic content

Horrendous images are pouring out of Gaza after the deadliest day in four years increased fears of an outright war.

Dead adults and children lay covered in blood or unconscious after being gassed as Israel's hi-tech military comes under scathing international criticism for using live rounds to stop Palestinian protesters.

The clash left 60 Palestinians dead and hundreds more injured after Israeli troops opened fire on protesters who burnt tires and in at least one area, tried to rip open a border fence.

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Less than an hour's drive from the carnage, the US President's daughter Ivanka Trump beamed at the opening ceremony of the new US embassy. Photo / AP
Less than an hour's drive from the carnage, the US President's daughter Ivanka Trump beamed at the opening ceremony of the new US embassy. Photo / AP

When pressed by journalists in Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert refused to follow other Western countries in calling for restraint from Israel, or even all parties.

"This is a complex region," Nauert said.

While asserting that "we regret the loss of life; we regret the loss of all life," Nauert also reiterated the White House position: "Israel has a right to defend itself."

The US State Department claimed Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza, used the controversial unveiling of the American embassy in Jerusalem as an "excuse" to encourage violence.

US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump attends the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. Photo / AP
US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump attends the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. Photo / AP
Palestinian protesters burn tires during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis. Photo / AP
Palestinian protesters burn tires during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis. Photo / AP

Less than an hour's drive from the horrific carnage of "Bloody Monday", Ivanka Trump was all smiles at the opening of her father's new embassy, and husband Jared Kushner praised the President for "delivering" on a campaign promise.

The awkward juxtaposition of Ms Trump's grinning face and the horror unfolding nearby sparked a storm of criticism.

She copped an almighty spray from comedian Chelsea Handler, and had to endure a New York Daily News front page that pulled no punches.

Nauert declined to link the violence with the new American embassy, unveiled Monday after the United States unilaterally recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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"We have watched the demonstrations over the past six weeks. These demonstrations are nothing new," Nauert said.

"If Hamas wants to use that as an excuse to rile people up and to encourage violence, that is their choice. It's an irresponsible choice."

One of the most heartbreaking images to come out of the six weeks of fighting between Israel and Palestine featured a grieving mother holding her dead child was labelled the picture that encapsulated the tragedy.

But a local doctor disputed the image of a mother cradling the eight-month-old girl, saying Leila Ghandour was already sick before the attack.

Her family claimed the baby had ended up in the area of the protest as a result of a mix-up, and the Gaza Health Ministry initially counted her among the 59 killed on "Bloody Monday.

A protester throws a stone at the Israeli embassy in Athens. Photo / AP
A protester throws a stone at the Israeli embassy in Athens. Photo / AP

On Tuesday, Palestinians began burying those who died during Israeli strikes on demonstrators furious at Donald Trump moving the US embassy to contested Jerusalem.

It was the bloodiest day in the decade-long territory dispute since the 2014 war, with 2700 people injured, including children. Of these, 1360 were wounded by bullets, 400 by shrapnel and 980 by gas inhalation — overwhelming Gaza hospitals, which set up tents outside.

The strikes continued today with Israel dropping shells and teargas canisters on Palestinians who set fire to tyres, sent burning kites over the border and threw rocks in response.

Hamas militants blamed Donald Trump for taking Israel's side in moving the US embassy to contested Jerusalem. Photo / AP
Hamas militants blamed Donald Trump for taking Israel's side in moving the US embassy to contested Jerusalem. Photo / AP

Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of Israeli's creation in 1948, which Palestinians call "naqba" (the catastrophe), after hundreds of thousands of its people were displaced.

Global leaders condemned the Israeli killings but the White House placed the blame squarely with Hamas.

Israel's military claimed at least 24 of those killed during the protest had a "documented terror background" while some wielded guns and grenades or tried to cross the border fence using Palestinian civilians as cover. It said it had prevented a "significant" attack.

Hamas officials said protests would continue, and hinted at a possible military strike, which would spark war.

'BROKEN HEARTED BY THE MASSACRE'

A UN Security Council meeting on the violence began with a moment of silence for those killed on Monday.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council no member "would act with more restraint than Israel has" in the confrontation at the Gaza border. She said the protests had nothing to do with the moving of the US embassy and that Hamas extremists who rule Gaza had been inciting violence there for years.

But Palestinians condemned the embassy opening as the US taking Israel's side in the conflict and said it would no longer trust the Trump administration to broker talks.

Hamas deputy leader Khalil al-Hayya blamed the US for reversing decades of policy and defying international consensus. "The American administration bears responsibility for all consequences following the implementation of this unjust decision," he said.

Palestinians who live in Greece burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israeli rally in Athens. Photo / AP
Palestinians who live in Greece burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israeli rally in Athens. Photo / AP

Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the killings a "massacre" after saying in December that "God was weeping" over Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"I am deeply distressed and broken-hearted by the massacre perpetrated by the State of Israel in Gaza yesterday," he said in a statement. "People who recognise the humanity in others do not author or perpetrate massacres."

South Africa and Turkey recalled their ambassadors to Israel in protest, and Turkey also withdrew its ambassador to the US with its president Recep Erdogan saying Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has the blood of Palestinians on his hands".

Turkey's deputy PM said the massacre would be remembered as "bloody Monday."

But Netanyahu hailed it as "a glorious day" as Ms Trump unveiled a stone plaque to the strains of "Hallelujah" in front of a crowd of 800 religious and political figures.

A Palestinian woman reacts from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Photo / AP
A Palestinian woman reacts from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Photo / AP

"Those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution," said Kushner.

Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish Republican donor, sat in the front row as Netanyahu praised the US President for accepting that Israel's capital was an "eternal, undivided" Jerusalem.

"A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality," said the Israeli leader.

'WE ARE EXTREMELY WORRIED ... ANYONE IS LIABLE TO BE SHOT'

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, told reporters "the responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas."

Asked whether the US was urging restraint by the Israelis, he said the violence was "a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt" by the Sunni militant group.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights accused Israeli armed forces of repeatedly flouting international law, asking why it would not simply arrest those who rushed the border and use lethal force as a last resort.
"It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured," said spokesman Rupert Colville, calling for an investigation into Israel's actions. "Women, children, press personnel, first responders, bystanders ...

Palestinian medics and protesters evacuate a wounded youth during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Photo / AP
Palestinian medics and protesters evacuate a wounded youth during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Photo / AP

"We are extremely worried about what may happen later today. We urge maximum restraint. Enough is enough."

The human rights office called for independent investigations into all cases of death and injury since March 30, during which time it said 112 Palestinians had been killed, including 14 children, and thousands wounded.

The Israeli military says its aircraft had struck 11 "terror targets" in a Hamas compound in the Gaza Strip in response to the protests.

Relatives of 40 year-old Palestinian Jaber Abu Mustafa react at the family house during his funeral in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. Photo / AP
Relatives of 40 year-old Palestinian Jaber Abu Mustafa react at the family house during his funeral in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. Photo / AP

More demonstrations are planned overnight.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, France and Jordan condemned Israel's use of violence against demonstrators. Britain, Canada, China and Germany called for a peaceful resolution, but avoided apportioning blame.

— With wires