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2 Gaza workers injured by Israeli fire near border

Aug. 28, 2010 4:13 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 30, 2010 12:52 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were injured by Israeli fire near the border fence separating Gaza from Israel, medics said.

Director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza Muawiya Hassanein said Sharif Sa'id Ghubn, 25, and Rami Ibrahim Ghubn, 18, were transferred to hospital with bullet wounds, which he described as moderate.

The men were collecting rubble north of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza to make cement, Hassanein said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said forces saw a number of people close to the border, and asked them to identify themselves. When the men failed to do so, Israeli soldiers opened fire, she said, adding that she was only aware of one injury. The spokeswoman noted that Israel considers the area a combat zone.

Under Israel's siege policy, the entry of construction materials into the Strip is heavily restricted. A report by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in May said restrictions on the import of cement have made it "impossible" to reconstruct the 12,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed by the Israeli military, or to build a further 20,000 homes needed to accommodate natural population growth in the Strip.

Several incidents of Israeli fire at the border have resulted in injuries over the last month. On 16 August, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian man during clashes along the southern border.

Two weeks previously, Bilal Ibrahim Obeid, 22, was injured by live fire at the border and in a separate incident three men sustained gun shot wounds close to the fence. Reports suggested the men were collecting cement aggregates from the area.

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