June 16, 2019
Middle East

Israeli army kills Palestinian near fence in southern Gaza

More than 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since 30 March (AFP)

Israeli forces reportedly shot and killed a Palestinian and wounded another near the fence separating the southern Gaza Strip from Israel on Monday.

The Israeli army claimed in a statement that "two terrorists who damaged the security fence and were armed with an axe" attempted an “infiltration” into Israel.

Soldiers "fired towards the terrorists, killing one of them", the statement added.

The army circulated a picture of an axe lying on the ground near the border.

A short while ago, IDF troops thwarted an attempted infiltration from the #Gaza Strip into Israeli territory by two terrorists who damaged the security fence and were armed with an axe. pic.twitter.com/SBqZxJLK9N

— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) June 4, 2018

While the statement did not specify what happened to the second Palestinian, an Israeli army spokesperson later told Middle East Eye that he was injured but not captured by Israeli forces.

The spokesperson told MEE they were not aware of any Israeli injuries during the incident.

As of Monday afternoon, Gaza's health ministry told MEE it did not have any information on the case.

Al-Aqsa TV, affiliated with Gaza's ruling party, Hamas, published a video allegedly filmed on Monday showing a group of young men east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, some of them using wire cutters to breach the fence.

They then approach a military post and hurl what appears to be a petrol bomb at it, before running back into Gaza.

The video did not show anyone getting shot nor wielding an axe, but an eyewitness said one of the men was hit as he tried to flee, with the body taken by Israeli forces, according to AFP.

The video said the operation was revenge for the killing of Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old female medic shot dead by Israeli forces in southern Gaza on Friday.

#شاهد | شبان يشعلون النيران بمعدات قوات الاحتلال بعد قصهم السلك الزائل شرق خانيونس ثأراً للشهيدة رزان النجار#مسيرة_العودة_الكبرى pic.twitter.com/42b1eAAoPu

— قناة الأقصى الفضائية (@AqsaTVChannel) June 4, 2018

Mondays death brings to 125 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30, the first day of the Great March of Return protests, which have continued unabated for over two months as Palestinian refugees living in the besieged enclave have called for their right of return to their original villages now lying in present-day Israel.

The vast majority have been killed during weeks of protests along the border, while a few were killed while allegedly carrying out attacks or in Israeli air strikes.

No Israelis have been killed.

Protests peaked on 14 May when at least 61 people were killed as tens of thousands demonstrated ahead of Nakba Day, marking the 70th anniversary of the displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

The demonstration took place on the same day as the United States moved its embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, a move that was widely denounced as recognising Israels claims to the city as its capital to the detriment of Palestinian claims to Jerusalem.

More than two million Palestinians are packed into Gaza, a narrow coastal enclave where unemployment is high and poverty widespread.

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but maintains a tight blockade since 2007. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

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