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Palestinian shot dead by Egyptian forces near Gaza border

Jan. 2, 2015 7:20 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 3, 2015 7:43 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian military forces late Friday shot and killed a Palestinian at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, witnesses and an official said.

Witnesses told Ma'an Egyptian soldiers opened fire at four Palestinians in the al-Salam neighborhood of Rafah, killing one and arresting the other three.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement that a 23-year-old Palestinian was shot dead and taken to Abu Yusif al-Najjar hospital in Rafah.

The motive behind the shooting was not immediately clear.

Egypt and Israel maintain a blockade on Gaza, keeping borders largely closed and limiting imports, exports, and the freedom of movement of its residents.

The Egyptian government, which has actively destroyed smuggling tunnels underneath the border since the military coup in the summer of 2013, has also promised the creation of a buffer zone on its side.

The border area used to host hundreds of tunnels which Gazans used to import goods to circumvent the seven-year-old siege of the territory.
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