Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian on beach in northern Gaza

Published today (updated) 29/10/2014 19:05
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man on the beach in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, medical sources said.

Gaza's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that a 27-year-old man was seriously injured after being shot in the thigh in Beit Lahiya.

The man, identified only by his initials "S.Gh." was taken to Kamal Udwan hospital.

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the incident, saying that two Palestinians had "approached the security fence" in the northern Gaza Strip.

He said Israeli forces called on them to leave, but when they "failed to comply," soldiers fired warning shots in the air, then at "their lower extremities, identifying a hit."

The Aug. 26 ceasefire agreed upon by Gaza militants and Israeli forces stipulated an end to hostilities, with Israel pledging to ease its crippling siege on the Strip and expand tight fishing regulations.

The sides also agreed to hold further indirect meetings in Egypt to iron out further details of the truce. The meetings were postponed to November in the wake of a deadly attack on security forces in Egypt.

Since the ceasefire was signed, Israeli forces have fired at several fishermen who they say have ventured beyond the newly-imposed limit of six nautical miles.

There have also been widespread reports of the Israeli navy opening fire at fishermen within those limits.

Before Operation Protective Edge -- which left over 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, dead -- fishermen were only allowed to fish three miles from shore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Palestinian child killed by unexploded Israeli ordnance in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian child died on Wednesday after he touched an unexploded Israeli ordnance left over from the most recent offensive over the summer, causing it to explode.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that 4-year-old Muhammad Sami Abu Jrad from the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun was killed after he came into contact with the ordnance.

Muhammad was severely injured when the ordnance exploded as a result of contact, and passed away after beign transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Muhammad is at least the 10th person to be killed by unexploded Israeli ordnance, including six in August and three in September.

Watch groups have warned that the ordnance can be a particular threat to children, who often think the bombs are toys.

The Gaza Strip is currently littered with a large number of unexploded Israeli ordnance, a constant reminder of the more than 50-day Israeli offensive that left more than 2,150 dead, 11,200 injured, and more than 110,000 homeless.

Although Gaza police explosives teams have been working across the territory to destroy unexploded ordnance and prevent safety threats to locals, lack of proper equipment due to the seven-year Israeli siege as well as lack of resources more generally have hindered efforts.

Even before the most frequent Israeli assault, unexploded ordnance from the 2008-9 and 2012 offensives was a major threat to Gazans.

A 2012 report published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that 111 civilians, 64 of whom were children, were casualties to unexploded ordnance between 2009 and 2012, reaching an average of four every month in 2012.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza, soldiers open fire at farms

Published today (updated) 01/10/2014 11:20
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday and soldiers opened fire towards Palestinian agricultural areas, locals told Ma'an.

Twelve military vehicles entered Gaza from a gate east of the town of al-Fukhari in the Khan Younis district, witnesses said.

The vehicles reportedly crossed some 200 meters into the Strip, and soldiers scanned the area before shooting towards Palestinian farms in an apparent ceasefire violation.

Agricultural workers were forced to leave their fields when soldiers shot at their farms, the witnesses told Ma'an.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.

Following weeks of Egyptian-brokered negotiations, Israel and Palestinian militant factions agreed to halt their fire in Gaza on Aug. 26 after 50 days.

The agreement stipulated that Israel would ease its devastating siege on the Strip, though few if any real changes have been evident in the month following the truce.

Indirect talks are set to resume mid-September to discuss specifics.

The Israeli buffer zone around Gaza was also meant to be reduced following the agreement, with farmers initially reporting that they were able to access their fields 100 meters from the border fence.

But a Palestinian farmer was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Sunday in northern Gaza after an Israeli army spokeswoman said he had come too close to the border fence.

Before Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces routinely opened fire on those who entered the buffer zone, which ranged from 500-1,500 meters from the border and encompassed 17 percent of Gaza's total land area.

Since the signing of the agreement, Israeli forces have also repeatedly opened fire at and arrested Gaza fishermen.