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Israeli fire injures 1 in southern Gaza

March 25, 2010 9:41 A.M. (Updated: March 27, 2010 9:12 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – A Palestinian worker was critically injured on Thursday morning as the Israeli forces at the closed Sufa crossing opened fire on a group of men collecting rubble for the re-manufacturing of construction materials, medics said.

Director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, Muawiya Hassanein, identified the injured man as Naji Abu Rayda, 32, noting he was shot in the back and transferred to the European Hospital.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was unfamiliar any such incident in the area of the Sufa crossing.

Israeli news sources reported a similar incident near the Rafah crossing, southwest of Sufa. The spokesman said he had no knowledge of an incident matching either description.

According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Rayda was injured in the right thigh when he and several other workers were approximately 500 meters from the border fence.

Earlier in the week, Al Mezan reported Israeli soldiers near the Erez crossing opened fired on men "collecting rubble to sell to brick factories, which recycles it into bricks." The men were reportedly 100 meters away from the border.

"This is the only source of bricks for construction that is available in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from an acute shortage of construction materials due the Israeli siege," the report said.

Two days earlier, Israeli forces reportedly arrested 20 Palestinian workers who were collecting the rubble from destroyed buildings in the northern Gaza Strip. The report said four of those detained were children. Eight were released the next day after interrogations, the report said.
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