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Israeli forces shoot 3 Gaza workers

Feb. 12, 2011 5:15 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2011 6:27 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured three Palestinian workers Saturday in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said.

A 19-year-old man was moderately injured, a Gaza medical spokesman said.

Earlier, Marhan Tanboura, 24, and Ashour Shukheidim, 29, were shot in the leg, medics said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers fired at Palestinians who approached the border and did not heed orders to stop. Forces identified hitting two men in the lower body, she said.

The men were collecting rubble from evacuated settlements near the Gaza border to sell as cement aggregates, medics said.

Cement is in demand to rebuild thousands of homes destroyed in Israel's last offensive on the coastal enclave. Under Israel's siege policy, most construction materials are banned from the Gaza Strip.

Israel declared a buffer zone along the border zone inside Gaza, which reaches deep into the coastal enclave, and Israeli forces regularly shoot at Palestinians who enter the area. Defense for Children International has reported that teenagers have been shot as far as 800 meters from the border.

But, with unemployment standing at 45.4 percent in the Strip according to a UN estimate, workers continue to risk entering the exclusion zone.

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