Palestinian Civilian Shot Dead Near Border

A Palestinian civilian has been shot dead by Israeli troops near the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Hassan Abed, 60, was farming his land on Thursday in al-Qarara when he was shot, according to medics and witnesses.

The Israeli military said it was examining reports of the incident.

Israeli troops often shoot at Palestinians close to the border fence as fighters have previously tried to plant explosives there or cross into Israel unnoticed.

The death came as two members of the armed wing of Hamas died in a explosion south of Gaza City.

Hamas initially claimed that the explosion was caused by an Israeli air raid, but later acknowledged that the blast was accidental .

An Israeli military spokesman had already denied any role in the blast saying: "The armed forces have nothing to do with the Gaza explosion."

Israeli forces also arrested five members of the al-Quds Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committee in the West Bank town of Qabatiya, south of the city of Jenin, after about 30 Israeli military vehicles stormed the town at dawn on Thursday.   

Since Israel and the Palestinians resumed peace talks in late November, at least 356 people have been killed in violence, according to an AFP tally.   

In all, 6,319 people have been killed since the start of the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000, the vast majority of them Palestinians, according to a separate AFP count.

(Aljazeera and Agencies)

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