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Israeli forces open fire on Gaza protesters, 17 injured

Feb. 14, 2014 7:05 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2014 11:17 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protesters in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, injuring 17 people, medics said.

Emergency services chief Ashraf al-Qidra told AFP 13 protesters were wounded by gunfire and four hit by tear gas.

Earlier he said one of the men shot was in critical condition.

The wounded were taken to Kamal Adwan hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the shooting but did not say if anyone was injured.

"Hundreds of Palestinians were throwing stones to try to damage the security fence between Gaza and Israel," said the spokeswoman.

"Our soldiers tried to keep the crowd at bay by using anti-riot methods and by firing live bullets towards the legs of the main instigators," she added.

Later the army said that two "projectiles" fired from the Gaza Strip hit an open area in the southern Israel without causing casualties or damage.

It was not immediately clear if they were rockets or mortar rounds.

On Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot dead Ibrahim Suleiman Mansour, 26, and injured another man after shooting him in the foot.

A Ma'an reporter said that the two men were collecting rubble near the border when they were shot.

Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off-limits to Palestinians.

The "security buffer zone" extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

According to UN's OCHA humanitarian agency, 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 people.

AFP contributed to this report.
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