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Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza, soldiers open fire at farms

Oct. 1, 2014 10:58 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 3, 2014 1:07 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday and soldiers opened fire towards Palestinian agricultural areas, locals told Ma'an.

Twelve military vehicles entered Gaza from a gate east of the town of al-Fukhari in the Khan Younis district, witnesses said.

The vehicles reportedly crossed some 200 meters into the Strip, and soldiers scanned the area before shooting towards Palestinian farms in an apparent ceasefire violation.

Agricultural workers were forced to leave their fields when soldiers shot at their farms, the witnesses told Ma'an.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.

Following weeks of Egyptian-brokered negotiations, Israel and Palestinian militant factions agreed to halt their fire in Gaza on Aug. 26 after 50 days.

The agreement stipulated that Israel would ease its devastating siege on the Strip, though few if any real changes have been evident in the month following the truce.

Indirect talks are set to resume mid-September to discuss specifics.

The Israeli buffer zone around Gaza was also meant to be reduced following the agreement, with farmers initially reporting that they were able to access their fields 100 meters from the border fence.

But a Palestinian farmer was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Sunday in northern Gaza after an Israeli army spokeswoman said he had come too close to the border fence.

Before Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces routinely opened fire on those who entered the buffer zone, which ranged from 500-1,500 meters from the border and encompassed 17 percent of Gaza's total land area.

Since the signing of the agreement, Israeli forces have also repeatedly opened fire at and arrested Gaza fishermen.
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