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Shepherd killed by Israeli soldiers, Palestinian medical officials say

Ma'an News


December 23, 2010

Medics: 1 dead after shooting on Gaza border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian shepherd died Thursday hours after Israeli troops shot him and three others along the border with Israel inside northern Gaza, medics said.

Salamah Abu Hashish, 22, sustained wounds to the back in the shooting, which occurred north of Beit Lahiya, Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma'an.

The official said Abu Hashish was the 13th Gazan to be killed since November and the 34th to suffer injuries near the border, which Israel considers a combat zone but residents call home.

Two Palestinians were critically injured in Thursday's shooting, Abu Salmiya said. One of them, a 14-year-old boy, sustained wounds to the head while collecting stones, he added.

A third person, aged 19, was moderately injured in his hand, medics said, and an 18-year-old was hurt near the Erez crossing in a separate shooting incident, Abu Salmiya said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that forces shot two Palestinians.

She added that the army fired warning shots before firing at the workers' lower bodies. The forces opened fire because the Palestinians refused to turn back, she said.

"This area is considered a combat zone used by terrorist organizations to execute attacks," the spokeswoman added. "For this reason, the IDF will not allow anyone to be present in it."

Hours after that incident the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it fired three mortars at an Israeli post east of Al-Bureij refugee camp.

In a statement, the National Resistance Brigades said "the shelling comes in response to Israeli crimes against Palestinians and to affirm the path of resistance is our strategic choice."

Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, deplored the incident and urged Israel to show "maximum restraint."

"I am distressed that incidents continue in the perimeter area of Gaza, and deplore the killing of one apparently unarmed Palestinian civilian and the injuring of a number of others by Israeli gunfire," he said.

"I call for maximum Israeli restraint and protection of civilians. I reiterate my appeal for calm and an end to violence, to bring about the de-escalation that all parties have stressed they wish to see."

"The UN does not want to see any renewed intensification of conflict," he added.

Between March 26 and Dec. 10, Israeli troops shot at least 19 Palestinian children as they collected gravel in northern Gaza, the charity group Defence for Children International says.

AFP contributed to this report.

:: Article nr. 73205 sent on 24-dec-2010 02:23 ECT


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