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Israeli troops open fire at Gaza farmers

Feb. 22, 2015 12:07 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 24, 2015 10:16 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces stationed in military vehicles along the southeastern border of the Gaza Strip on Sunday opened fire at Palestinian farmers in their fields in the eastern outskirts of Rafah.

Witnesses told Ma'an that several Israeli military vehicles were seen firing at farmers.

Spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said there were no injuries from the incident.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

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 attacks have recently become a near daily occurrence.

The "security buffer zone" extends between 500 meters and 1,500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

According to UNOCHA, 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 Gazans.

Although following the ceasefire signed in August between Israel and Palestinian militant groups the buffer zone was supposed to be reduced in size, there remains confusion as to its exact area among many who live near the border.

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