IDF vehicle drives along Gaza border fence [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian man in the northern Gaza Strip near the border with Israel on Sunday morning.
According to the IDF, he had refused calls to stop approaching the security fence with Israel, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. It was the first Gazan fatality since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Fadel Mohammed Halawa, 32, was killed in the incident, east of Jabalya refugee camp.
One of Halawa’s relatives said he had been searching for song birds, which nest in trees near the Israeli border and command high prices in Gaza markets.
Soldiers saw two Palestinian men approaching the border and called out a warning for them to stop. The soldiers began procedures for arrests, fired into the air, and when the men did not stop advancing, they fired at one of them in the leg, and confirmed a hit, they said. The man fell and was taken away by ambulance, while the second man ran away.
It was the second border incident on Sunday.
In the morning, an army patrol on the border arrested two Gazans who had crossed the security fence and entered Israel; one of them was carrying a grenade, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. The two men crossed near the center of the Gaza Strip and were stopped almost immediately.
The IDF added that the incident was quite routine for the area, and that it didn’t have any assessment that the two men were looking to carry out a terrorist attack.
Haim Yellin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said that since the beginning of the month the IDF has stopped 12 attempted infiltrations from Gaza into the region. The events present a clear and present danger to the residents of the Eshkol region, he said.
Yellin called for the Defense Ministry to approve the construction of an additional security barrier on the border.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the killing of Halawa was a “dangerous development and a violation of the truce agreement” with Israel.
Abu Zuhri called on the international community to “assume its responsibility toward this crime.”
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.