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Israel detains 3 Palestinians in search along Gaza borderline

Feb. 27, 2016 10:38 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2016 8:35 P.M.)
Photo Credit: Israeli Channel 2
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday detained three unarmed Palestinians suspected of crossing illegally from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Israel’s army and media said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an the three were found during a search in Israel’s Eshkol area and taken for interrogation.

Israeli military forces had reportedly opened fire on Palestinian farmlands when the search was launched following reports that individuals had crossed the borderline from the Gaza Strip to Israel.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli military vehicles patrolling the border opened fire on agricultural lands in Khuzaa east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, as well as east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.

The army spokesperson had no immediate information regarding the use of live fire by the forces, but told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.

The spokesperson told Ma’an earlier on Saturday that forces “identified several indications” suggesting a possible breach in the security fence between Gaza and Israel.

Israeli residents living in the Eshkol area near the Gaza border had been cautioned of the potential breach, the spokesperson added.

Israel’s Channel 2 reported that large numbers of Israeli troops carrying out the search faced difficulty due to heavy fog covering the area.

Hebrew-language news site Mivzak Live reported that the three Palestinian detainees during initial interrogations said: "We are tired of living in the harsh conditions in Gaza, we have no food, we have no electricity, we have nothing in Gaza so we decided to cross to Israel and live in Israeli prison conditions.”

Israel has maintained a near-decade long military blockade of the Gaza Strip, upheld by Egypt, making movement in and out of the besieged enclave nearly impossible for the strip's over 1.8 million Palestinian residents.

Several Palestinians have attempted to escape the dire conditions of the Gaza Strip by crossing illegally into Israel -- often to find work -- a number of whom have been shot dead by Israeli forces while crossing the border.

Israel upholds strict security measures along the Gaza-Israel border that the international community has repeatedly argued have made the strip unlivable.
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