Angry Palestinian protesters also clashed with Israeli police in the occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, following last week's protests after Friday prayers, Israel has placed the West Bank on a 48-hour lockdown, prohibiting movement into and out of the occupied Palestinian territory except in emergency cases until Saturday.

Police were also on high alert in Greece, where protests against the Israeli offensive have been planned.

Boycott call

In Malaysia and Italy, critics of Israel's Gaza assault have called for a boycott of Israeli and US goods.

"We cannot remain silent about what is happening in Gaza. We had thought of drawing up a list of businessmen who have links with Tel Aviv because people do not know who they are," said Giancarlo Desiderati, a member of a small group of Italian traders who called for the boycott on its website.

At least 5,000 people protested outside the US embassy in Malaysia on Friday, and around 300 held a noisy protest outside the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur to urge Arab countries to cut off oil supplies to the US and boycott Coca-Cola, Colgate and Starbucks.

Addressing the crowd, Mahathir Mohamed, an ex-prime minister, told Malaysians that they "will not die if they do not use the US goods" and urged those working for US companies such as fast-food giant McDonalds to quit their jobs.

"I hope Starbucks and McDonald's employees will stop working there," he said.

Coca-Cola spoke against a boycott of its drinks and other US goods, saying on Friday that it would only hurt the local economy and citizens.