Sunday, May 18, 2014

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian laborer in Gaza

An Israeli soldier aims his rifle in the West Bank village of Bilin on Nov. 30, 2007 (MaanImages/Medyan Dairieh)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday shot and injured a Palestinian laborer near the border in the northern Gaza Strip, an official said.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, told Ma'an that a "21-year-old gravel worker was shot in the foot by Israeli forces" near Erez crossing.

He was taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital in moderate condition, al-Qidra said.

The young man's name was not immediately provided.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said "there was a large group of people who came near the security fence" several times on Sunday.

"They came and left and came and left all day," she said.

Asked what the Palestinians were doing in the area, the spokeswoman said: "I can't give you that information."

After calling on the Palestinians to leave and "firing warning shots into the air," Israeli soldiers fired a man's lower extremities, identifying a hit.

The man was "slightly injured" and left the scene of his own accord, the spokeswoman said.

She said riot dispersal means such as tear gas and rubber-coated bullets were not used prior to firing live bullets.

Many people in the besieged coastal enclave collect small stones in order to make gravel for concrete, because the import of concrete is forbidden by the Israeli economic blockade. The blockade has been in force since 2006.

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.

According to a March report by Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, the number of live-fire casualties near the fence has been on the rise since late December.

"The military must also instruct the troops that the use of live fire is absolutely prohibited for the purpose of getting Palestinian civilians who pose no threat to anyone to back away from the areas near the perimeter fence."