GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Five Palestinian workers were shot and taken to hospital on Tuesday, after Israeli forces opened fire on the group in what the injured said appeared to be a rapid succession of sniper attacks.
The men said they were collecting stone aggregates in the northern Gaza Strip near the evacuated Israeli settlement of Eli Sinai north of Beit Lahiya when the incident occurred.
Medics said ambulances could not reach the area, so the men were first evacuated by donkey cart until they were safely out of Israel's unilaterally imposed "no-go-zone" which officials say is kept clear because it is an area where attacks are launched against Israel. The lands in the zone constitute some 20 percent of arable farm lands in the Strip.
The men were transferred to Red Crescent ambulances when they were clear of the firing area, and admitted to the Kamal Udwan Hospital in Jabaliya.
With the latest round of injuries, the number of workers shot by Israeli forces rose to 12 in the previous 48 hours.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers first fired warning shots toward the group, then fired toward their lower bodies. She added that protocol dictates that the warning shots be fired with a sufficient interval for individuals in the no-go zone to leave the area. Soldiers confirmed three direct hits, she said.