Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, witnesses told Ma’an.
Soldiers positioned at Erez crossing opened fire at a group of Palestinian men collecting stones from nearby fields, hitting 19-year-old Wasim Abu Audah in the leg, locals said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the shooting, saying there were 30 Palestinians gathered in the area.
“It’s a prohibited area; they’re not supposed to be there,” the spokeswoman said.
She said Israeli forces first used “riot dispersal means” in an attempt to clear the gathering.
After Palestinians remained in the area, the soldiers fired warning shots into the air and later shot at the lower extremities of the “main instigator.”
“A hit was confirmed,” the spokeswoman said.
Israeli forces have injured six Palestinian stone-collectors with live fire in Gaza since Thursday.
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.
(Ma’an – wwww.maannews.net)