Medics: 5 injured by Israeli fire in Gaza on Friday
Published Saturday 08/02/2014 (updated) 10/02/2014 14:56
An Israeli army tank keeps position near a security fence standing
on the Gaza border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern
Gaza Strip, during a demonstration by Palestinian youths on Nov.
23, 2012 (AFP/File Said Khatib)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Five Palestinians were wounded by Israeli army gunfire Friday near the separation barrier in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources said.
Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry in the territory, said the five men were in their early twenties.
One was in serious condition from a shot to the chest, he told AFP.
Palestinian witnesses said the soldiers opened fire after they were attacked by stones hurled over the border fence.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told AFP there were a series of clashes along the border, including east of Jabalia, where "Palestinians hurled stones at soldiers and tried to sabotage the security fence."
"The soldiers tried to distance the crowd using riot dispersal means and firing several warning shots in the air" before shooting "towards one main instigator," she said.
Clashes are common on Fridays, with regular protests near the border in support of Gaza farmers who say troops uprooted their trees to create a buffer zone.
The 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.