The Hamas government in Gaza has deployed security forces near the border with Israel after two shooting incidents in the aftermath of Wednesday’s ceasefire.
A Reuters photographer and other witnesses said Hamas officials, coming closer to the Israeli border fence than ever before, escorted Palestinians away from the site.
A security source confirmed the move: “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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Earlier Friday Israeli forces killed Anwar Abdul Hadi Qudaih, 20, near the Israeli border in the southern Gaza Strip, medical officials said. He was hit in the head with a live bullet east of Khan Younis, medics said.
Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said 19 others were wounded by Israeli fire in the border area.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of violating the Egypt-mediated truce and said the group would complain to Cairo. “We will contact the Egyptian mediator to discuss the incident,” he said.
Witnesses told Ma’an a group was gathering to perform prayers on their land near the border.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that soldiers fired warning shots into the air to push back some 300 Palestinians who had gathered at different locations along the fence and who were attempting to breach the border.
“After the rioters did not comply, the soldiers responded by firing toward the legs of the rioters,” she said.
A relative of the dead man, who was at the scene, told Reuters that Qudaih 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.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki, speaking in Rome, called Friday’s shooting “a clear violation of the agreement and should not be repeated”.
On Thursday medics said four Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire near the fence. An army spokesman said 200 Palestinians approached the fence and “began rioting” before causing damage to the fence.
Wednesday’s ceasefire deal ended eight days of fierce fighting that left over 170 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.