GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli troops shot dead an armed Palestinian and seriously wounded a second as the pair approached a Gaza-Israel border crossing before dawn Wednesday, Palestinian hospital officials said.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades said the two were members of the group, a violent offshoot of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party. Al Aqsa said the two were shot during a “heroic battle” against Israeli forces.
The Israeli army said troops had identified two armed men approaching the border fence near the Karni crossing and opened fire, hitting them.
Palestinian hospital officials said Israeli troops prevented a Palestinian ambulance from approaching the two men for an hour. The Israeli army denied that it held up the ambulance, saying Palestinian police searched the area before letting the medics in.
The Palestinian militants were dressed in military fatigues and were found with assault rifles, the hospital officials said.
Palestinian militants frequently try to infiltrate Israel along the Gaza fence, but rarely succeed. Israel dismantled 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in September, ending 38 years of occupation there.