Friday, January 3, 2014

Gaza teen dies of wounds after Thursday border shooting

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian teenager died early Friday of wounds sustained by Israeli forces the day before in the northern Gaza Strip, medics told Ma'an.

Palestinian medical sources identified the teen, who was shot Thursday at the Israeli border near Jabaliya, as 16-year-old Adnan Abu Khater.

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the emergency services in Gaza, said in a statement that Abu Khater died of his wounds after soldiers shot him in the leg east of Jabaliya, according to AFP.

Medical sources originally told Ma'an that Abu Khater was 18.

On Thursday afternoon, the youth was shot and injured by Israeli forces after he "was damaging" the border fence, an Israeli army spokeswoman said at the time. She said that after he refused to stop, Israeli soldiers hit him in the leg with live fire.

The Israeli news site Ynet reported he was "throwing stones" at the separation barrier.

The teen's death came as Israeli airstrikes targeted the Gaza Strip, hitting agricultural land near al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, the town of Beit Hanoun in the north, and another neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, Palestinian sources said.

No injuries from the strikes have been reported.

The Israeli army said the airstrikes were in response to a rocket from Gaza that hit southern Israel, causing no injuries or damages.

On Dec. 20, a similar death to Abu Khater's was documented. Two Palestinians were collecting scrap metal and plastic in the northern Gaza Strip -- nearly a kilometer away from the border -- when 27-year-old Odeh Hamad was shot dead by Israeli forces, his brother said. An Israeli army statement said Hamad was shot because he tried to lay an explosive device at the border.

Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off limits to Palestinians.

The "security buffer zone" extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

Last week, an upheaval in violence in Gaza left two dead and several injured. On Dec. 24, Israeli airstrikes killed a 3-year-old Palestinian girl and injured several others after a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli Civil Defense employee working at the border.

Two days later, two more Palestinians were injured in Israeli airstrikes, after two rockets fired from Gaza hit open Israeli areas, causing no injuries or damage.

On Saturday, Israeli tank fire injured two more Palestinians in central Gaza in an attack that was unconfirmed by the Israeli army but nonetheless made international headlines.

An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2012 between Palestinian factions and Israel to end over a week of fighting which left over 170 Palestinians dead and more than a thousand injured. Six Israelis were also killed during the fighting.

Since the agreement, Israeli forces have shot dozens of Gazans in border areas, and have launched frequent incursions.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.