GAZA CITY, (AFP) – Israeli soldiers on Sunday shot and wounded four Palestinians as they searched for building materials near Gaza’s border with Israel, medical sources and the military said.
A 15-year-old boy was among those shot in an area north of the town of Beit Hanun, according to a spokesman for Gaza’s emergency services.
The Israeli army confirmed its troops fired towards a number of people approaching the border fence after they refused to respond to warning shots.
“The troops fired towards their lower bodies and identified several hits,” a spokesman said.
Gazans regularly risk injury or death to search for gravel in the ruins of abandoned buildings along the frontier, despite the proximity to a 300-metre (330-yard) Israeli-imposed exclusion zone.
Israel says the no-go area is needed to prevent Palestinian snipers and bombers from reaching, and maybe breaching, the border fence.
Earlier on Sunday, militants in northern Gaza fired a rocket into southern Israel but caused no casualties or damage, the army said.
The rocket exploded in mid-air as it headed towards the Shaar HaNegev region of southern Israel which lies along Gaza’s northeastern border, a spokesman said.
According to an army count, Palestinians have fired more than 190 rockets or mortar rounds at Israel from the Hamas-controlled coastal strip since the start of this year.