A 22-year-old Palestinian man has been killed after being hit by Israeli army fire near the border in northern Gaza, media reports citing Palestinian officials said Friday.
Another Palestinian man was injured in the incident, which took place near Jabaliya refugee camp. Local reports said the injured man was rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment.
Palestinian officials claimed that Israeli troops had opened fire on a group of unarmed Palestinians who were staging a protest near the border fence between Gaza and Israel.
Israeli army is yet to comment on the incident. Nevertheless, Israeli media said the Palestinians came under fire after they advanced towards the border fence ignoring warning shots fired by Israeli troops.
Incidentally, Israel has been long maintaining a security buffer zone on the Gaza side of the border fence. The area is a no-go zone for Palestinians in Gaza. They face the risk of being shot by Israeli troops if they enter the buffer zone.
Israeli recently widened the width of the buffer zone from 300 meters to 1000 meters, following the eight-day conflict between the Jewish nation and Palestinian militants in Gaza in November.
That conflict was halted by a cease-fire mediated by Egypt. Ever since the ceasefire came into effect on November 21, both Israel and the militants in Gaza have refrained from launching cross-border attacks.
Under the ceasefire deal, the Palestinian militants in Gaza agreed to halt firing rockets across the border into southern Israel in exchange for Israel relaxing its 6-year-long blockade of the Palestinian enclave.
The Jewish nation had imposed the blockade after Hamas, a radical Islamist group, came to power in the Palestinian territory in June 2007, ousting secularist Fatah party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israel and the West consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization due to its refusal to give up violence and recognize Israel.
Incidentally, Hamas was not involved in the US-mediated direct peace negotiations between Israeli and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The negotiations are currently deadlocked over Israel's refusal to extend a construction freeze in the West Bank.
by RTT Staff Writer
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