Hamas polices Gaza border after IDF fire kills man

IDF says group of Palestinians tried to breach border fence prompting warning shots in air, and then at legs; Hamas security officials come closer to border fence than ever before, escort Gazans away from "no-go" zone.

By REUTERS,
November 24, 2012 10:14
2 minute read.
IDF vehicle patrols along Gaza border fence [file]

IDF vehicle along Gaza border fence 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Hamas Islamists enforced a fragile two-day-old truce on Friday by evacuating Palestinians from a "no-go" border zone after IDF gunfire across the Gaza border killed one Palestinian and wounded several others.

The rare move by the group in control of the Gaza Strip followed intervention by Egyptian mediators who urged both sides to take steps to preserve the truce that ended eight days of fierce Israeli-Palestinian fighting on Wednesday.

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The IDF stated that a group of about 300 Palestinians approached the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip and held a violent disturbance along the border.

A number of the Palestinians attempted to break through the border fence into Israel. IDF soldiers initially fired shots into the air, but when warnings were not heeded, shots were directed at the suspects' legs, according to the IDF.

One armed Palestinian was apprehended in Israeli territory after having crossed the fence and was returned to Gaza by soldiers, the IDF stated.

Hamas security officials, coming closer to the Israeli border fence than ever before, escorted Palestinians away from the site, witnesses, including a Reuters photographer, said.

A Palestinian security source confirmed the move to Reuters, saying "yes, there are instructions to implement the agreement and at the same time protect the people. The instruction is not to allow people to approach the border fence."

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Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that "deploying national security members on the edges (border) was in implementation of the (truce) agreement and to provide protection to the farmers in that area."

Dozens of Gazans hurl rocks on Gaza side of border fence (IDF Spokesman)

A Hamas spokesman accused Israel of violating the Egyptian-mediated truce and said the group would complain to Cairo.

The Palestinian Authority issued a complaint to the UN Security Council over the incident saying that Israel had threatened calm in the area by violating the cease-fire.

Medics said Anwar Qdeih, 23, was hit in the head by Israeli gunfire after he approached the security fence that runs along the Gaza frontier -- an area that Israel has long declared a no-go zone for Gazans.

A relative of the dead man, who was at the scene, told Reuters that Qdeih had been trying to place a Hamas flag on the fence. He added that an Israeli soldier had fired into the air three times before Qdeih was hit in the head by a bullet.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "We will contact the Egyptian mediator to discuss the incident."

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Wednesday's ceasefire deal ended eight days of fierce fighting that left 163 Palestinians and six Israelis dead.

According to the terms of the accord, both Israelis and Palestinians agreed to stop their hostilities. However, the brief document left details on access to the tense border zone to be worked out in the days ahead.

Seven other Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli gunfire from the border since the start of the ceasefire, medics said. Six of them were hurt on Friday and one on Thursday, when the Israeli military said 200 Palestinian "rioters" approached the fence.

The IDF constantly patrols the border area and says its forces have come under increasing attack this year, with terrorists planting explosive devices and firing an anti-tank missile on at least one occasion.

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