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Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds in Gaza

Jan. 30, 2016 11:56 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 30, 2016 1:52 P.M.)
Palestinians harvest a field of cucumbers on the outskirts of Gaza City (AFP/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces deployed at the borderline between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a group of Palestinian farmers and shepherds who were in nearby agricultural lands.

Witnesses told Ma'an that the group was forced to leave the area after the forces opened fire east of the city of Khan Younis. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson was looking into the reports but had no immediate information.

Israeli military forces have opened fire on Palestinian farmers near the border at least four times this month, one of whom was injured on Friday.

Forces have also entered the besieged enclave and carried out levelling and excavation activities at least three times over the last two weeks, and on one occasion detained two fishermen and seized their boat, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Palestinian farmers and fishermen face frequent fire from Israeli forces inside of or near the military-imposed “buffer zone.” While the exact limits of the zone are often unclear, they are enforced by live fire on both land and seaside borders of Gaza.

The Israeli army often says in such circumstances that the use of live fire is necessary to deter potential "security threats,” a policy that has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sectors of the impoverished strip.
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