Thursday, April 10, 2014

Israeli forces injure 4 Palestinians in shootings near Gaza border

Published Thursday 10/04/2014 (updated) 11/04/2014 17:41
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinians were injured across the Gaza Strip on Thursday as Israeli forces opened fire in two incidents and fired a tank shell into the besieged Palestinian enclave, medical sources said.

A young Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli forces east of Jabaliya refugee camp north of Gaza on Thursday afternoon.

Spokesman for the Gaza Strip ministry of heath Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that a 24-year-old was shot in the foot near the eastern cemetery.

He was taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital with moderate injuries, al-Qidra added.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that "suspects approached the fence and were called numerous times to stop," but after they failed to do so soldiers opened fire towards their "lower extremities." She could not confirm any hits.

The shooting follows an incident in the morning when three Palestinian men were shot and injured by Israeli fire near the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical and security sources said.

The sources said Israeli troops stationed on monitor towers opened fire at workers collecting small stones from fields to be used for making concrete, injuring three workers seriously.

Palestinian ambulances evacuated the victims to Kamal Udwan hospital.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said Israeli forces fired at Palestinians who had gathered near the crossing after the failed to respond to warning shots and riot-dispersal means.

She could not confirm if any direct hits were registered.

Earlier, Israeli forces fired an artillery shell at an open area in the northern Gaza Strip, witnesses told Ma'an.

The tank shell landed in an open area near Erez crossing.

The area, according to witnesses, was an Israeli industrial zone before Israeli forces disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005. No injuries were reported in that incident.

The National Resistance Brigades, a military wing affiliated to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told Ma'an that fighters affiliated to the group detonated an explosive device near the crossing.

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.

According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.

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

The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.