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Gaza boy shot by Israeli forces

Oct. 4, 2009 1:52 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 6, 2009 9:57 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – A young boy was shot by Israeli forces on his family’s farm near the Israeli border in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, medical officials said.

According to Muawiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Abu Suleiman was shot in the spine.

Hassanein also said Israeli forces denied ambulances access to the area to take the child to hospital. Instead, the forces detained him for two hours, he said. The boy was transferred to a hospital after this detention, the official said.

Asked about the incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that during an army operation, soldiers identified a “suspicious Palestinian man” approaching the border fence, and fired warning shots in the air. After the Palestinian ignored warning shots, the spokeswoman said, the army fired at and lightly injured him.

According to the Israeli military, Abu Suleiman was transferred to the Israeli side of the border for initial medical treatment and then returned to Gaza.

The Israeli army maintains an “exclusion zone” of up to several hundred meters wide inside Palestinian territory along the border. Palestinians who venture into the area are routinely shot.

Early on Sunday morning, Israeli warplanes launched three airstrikes on smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip, the fourth such attack in as many days.
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