Army: Forces shot 2 Palestinians in Gaza

March 20, 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Israeli forces said they shot two Palestinians in northern Gaza on Saturday night, but Palestinian medics have not confirmed the incident.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers fired at two men approaching the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel. She described the men as militants planning to plant an explosive device in the area.

The army official told Ma’an that forces identified a hit, but she could not confirm that they were killed.

However, the Israeli media reported that the men were both killed, quoting a military spokesperson. The Israeli daily Haaretz and the news site Ynet both reported that two Palestinians were shot dead.

Palestinian medical sources told Ma’an they had not received any information from Israeli officials about the shooting. Israeli authorities usually inform Palestinian medics about such incidents through liaison officers, medical officials added.

Israeli forces are on high alert near the borders with the Gaza Strip after Palestinian resistance fighters launched over 50 mortar shells and homemade projectiles across the border on Saturday.

Ma’an’s reporter said Israeli military tanks struck targets near the borders in the northern and central Gaza Strip late on Saturday night. Israeli missiles and artillery shells landed in Juhr Addik, east of Al-Bureij refugee camp, and in agricultural fields east of Gaza City. No injuries have been reported.

Meanwhile, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades said its fighters fired a Grad missile into the western Negev on Saturday evening.

The group said the shelling was a natural response to the ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Livni calls for another Cast Lead

On Saturday, Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni said the escalation in mortar fire called for a new military campaign against the coastal enclave.

“The right way to deal with it is with force, just like Israel did during and after Operation Cast Lead,” news website Ynet quoted her as telling local authority heads in the border region.

Israeli forces killed some 1,400 Palestinians during the December 2008 offensive, more than half of whom were civilians. Thirteen Israelis, 10 of them soldiers, were killed in the 22-day attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would use “all necessary means to protect its citizens” in a statement from his office.

In January, Gaza’s main militant factions confirmed a year-old truce after weeks of increased rocket fire and spiraling tensions along the border prompted a warning from Arab leaders that Gaza was risking a major new Israeli invasion.

AFP contributed to this story


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