Palestinians and Israeli forces clash ahead of the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem. AFP

Clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel on Monday between Palestinians and Israeli forces ahead of the controversial inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Gaza’s health ministry said 12 Palestinians were wounded.

Several thousand had gathered near the border, while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians were approaching the fence and seeking to damage it, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.

Larger crowds were expected to gather later in the day to protest the move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.

The embassy inauguration was due to occur at 4:00 pm (1300 GMT).

Fifty-four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests and clashes began along the Gaza border on March 30.

The protests are calling for Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation to be allowed to return to their homes now inside Israel.

No Israelis have been wounded and the military has faced criticism over the use of live fire.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

In Khan Yunis, groups of masked young men, some carrying wooden bats, walked between shops forcing them to close to respect a general strike.