Dozens of Palestinian and Syrian protesters lingered on what is known as Shouting Hill, on the Syrian side of the plateau, just opposite Majd al—Shams, a Druze village on the Israeli—occupied side, witnesses said.

The Israeli army remained on high alert along the border of the Israeli—occupied Golan Heights with Syria, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

Dozens of Palestinian and Syrian protesters lingered on what is known as Shouting Hill, on the Syrian side of the plateau, just opposite Majd al—Shams, a Druze village on the Israeli—occupied side, witnesses said.

But they did not move on towards the border, on the other side of a small, green gulley.

Some 23 people were killed and more than 350 injured on Sunday, when Israeli snipers opened fire on protesters who tried to force their way through the border, Syrian Health Minister Wael al—Halqi told the official Syrian Sana news agency.

The dead included a boy aged around 12, a woman and a journalist.

Solemn processions, with ambulances transporting the bodies, set off from a hospital in the Syrian town of Quneitra, where the vast majority of casualties were taken, towards Damascus on Monday to be laid to rest in the “martyrs cemetery,” Sana reported.

The protesters slammed Israel for opening fire at unarmed youths.

Israel, for its part, said it should be allowed to enforce its borders.

Its army said it had called over loudspeakers in Arabic ordering protesters to stay clear of the armistice line, warning that anyone who tried to climb or cut through the barbed wire security fence risked being shot. The army said the snipers aimed at the legs first.

The soldiers remained under strict instructions on Monday not to allow anyone to violate the border.

The spokeswoman in Tel Aviv would not comment on the casualties reported by Syria, saying Israel had no ability to verify them.

She said three to four landmines had exploded when a fire was ignited in a thorn field after a protester threw a Molotov cocktail, causing an unknown number of casualties.

Most of the hundreds of protesters, who were marking the 44th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 war, left the border area late Sunday after the day of deadly confrontations.

But a cluster of people stayed overnight, making more efforts to approach the Israeli—controlled lines under cover of darkness and lighting bonfires vowing to continue the protests, witnesses said.

Israel’s army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Benny Ganz, toured the tense border area on Monday.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed Israel’s representative to the United Nations to lodge a formal complaint about what it deemed a border violation and provocation.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and annexed it in 1981.

The protests were meant to symbolize what Palestinians call the “right of return” of refugees to their homes in what is now Israel.

Some 750,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their villages in what is now Israel in the 1948 Arab—Israeli war that erupted, as neighbouring Arab states invaded the newly founded state.

Since then, their number has grown to 4.8 million registered refugees, living in camps run by the UN Reliefs and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Nearly half a million of them live in Syria, in nine official UNWRA camps.

Israel wants the refugees to return to a future, negotiated Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Organizers of the protests, inspired by the revolutions in the Arab world, have used social networks on the internet including Facebook, to mobilize participants.

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