Israelis troops kill Palestinian on Gaza border


A Palestinian man has been shot dead by Israeli troops on the Gaza border and 19 others wounded, in the first serious incident since the ceasefire went into effect.

An Israeli military spokesman said the shooting occurred when about 300 Palestinians approached the border fence near Khan Yunis before Friday prayers and started rioting. He claimed the soldiers fired warning shots in the air and then aimed at the legs of the protesters when they tried to cross into Israel.

Palestinian medics said Anwar Qdeih (23) was shot in the head. A relative of the dead man, who was at the scene, told Reuters that Mr Qdeih had been trying to place a Hamas flag on the fence. He added that an Israeli soldier had first fired into the air three times. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of violating the Egyptian-mediated truce.

Hamas order

After the incident, in a rare move, Hamas security officials escorted Palestinians away from the site. A Palestinian security source confirmed that orders had been received, as part of the implementation of the truce agreement, not to allow people to approach the border fence.

Israel is pressing for a 300m buffer zone along the border, and in the past Israeli troops have opened fire on Palestinians approaching the security fence. Militants have often tried to plant explosives along the border and have also fired at patrolling troops.

Israeli newspapers published polls yesterday showing that about half of Israelis believed the government should have continued its military campaign against Hamas.

A senior diplomatic official claimed that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided against a ground assault after an Egyptian threat to cancel the peace treaty with Israel. According to the official, the Egyptian threat was made via Mossad intelligence chief Tamir Pardo, who served as the Israeli point man during the truce negotiations.

The Jerusalem magistrate’s court yesterday remanded an Israeli Arab citizen suspected of helping to perpetrate a bus bombing on Wednesday that injured 29 people in Tel Aviv.

The man, originally from the West Bank, was arrested just hours after the attack along with a second suspect.