Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fire on Gaza borders continues, worker injured

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Saturday morning shooting incident by Israeli forces patrolling the Gaza border brought up to 67 the number of men collecting construction aggregates injured by Israeli fire, medical officials said.

Shortly before 9 a.m., an unidentified 22-year-old man collecting cement aggregates near the Erez border crossing was told by Israeli forces patrolling the unilaterally-declared "no-go zone" to leave the area.

Workers, who are paid by the weight of the aggregates they collect, head to the border areas particularly in the north where former settlements - demolished during the military pull-out of 2005 - provide ample resources.

When the man failed to leave the area, a military spokeswoman said, shots were fired into the air, and then toward his lower body.

Medics who retrieved the man said he sustained a gunshot wound to the foot. Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said he was evacuated to the Kamal Udwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.

The military spokeswoman said soldiers identified a hit.

Since 2009, when Israeli forces increased the unmarked area of the no-go zone to up to one kilometer in some areas, Abu Silmiyya said two have been killed and 67 injured.

During the three-week war Israel launched on Gaza in December 2008, more than 1,400 Gaza residents were killed and the UN estimated 6,000 homes were destroyed. Israel's blockade has barred reconstruction materials such as iron re-bar, aggregates and cement. After a slight easing of the siege in June 2010, construction materials were only permitted into the Strip for the UN and some international aid agencies.

Gaza entrepreneurs developed methods to recycle cement and process rubble into new concrete blocks. Other companies collect and sort aggregates, then sell them to families whose homes were destroyed during the war.