Palestinian man shot, injured by Israeli forces in northern Gaza Strip
Published Sunday 13/04/2014 (updated) 15/04/2014 10:03
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was shot by Israeli forces near Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip Sunday morning, Palestinian medical and security sources told Ma'an.
Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian workers collecting small stones from fields near the border, injuring one in the foot.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that "a crowd gathered in a prohibited area near security fence," and as a result "soldiers tried to distance crowd using riot dispersal means."
"They fired warning shots in the air and, after all efforts were exhausted, fired toward the main instigators' lower extremities," she added, confirming a hit.
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.
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.