Monday, May 24, 2010

Worker injured by Israeli fire in Gaza

Gaza – Ma'an – A young Palestinian worker sustained gunshot wound injuries on Sunday, after Israeli forces reportedly opened fire at a group of workers in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses said Muhammad Sa'dallah, 19, was hit by Israeli machine-gun fire, as workers collected stones and rocks for construction, left behind by Israel forces following the evacuation of illegal Gaza settlements in 2005.

Sa'dallah was transferred to the Kamal Udwan Hospital in Jabaliya where he was described as in moderate condition.

Several Palestinian workers and protesters have been killed or injured near the border following Israel's creation of a buffer zone, which Gaza officials say enters 300 meters into the Strip and devours 20 percent of arable land. Nearly bi-weekly protests are held against the no-go zone, which Israel considers a combat zone.

An Israeli military spokesman told Ma'an that earlier Sunday morning an Israeli force "identified a number of suspects approaching" near the border, and fired warning shots in the air to dissuade them from approaching further. After failing to move back, the representative said, the Israeli force fired shots toward the suspects' lower body in order to not cause a lethal hit, and identified hitting one of the suspects. "The suspects eventually turned back," he said.

The army representative said the area adjacent to the border is often used by what he described as terrorist organizations to plant explosives and cause harm to Israeli soldiers and civilians, pointing to recent killing of two Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters attempting to infiltrate through the central Gaza Strip.