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Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian farmland in Gaza

Jan. 29, 2017 11:20 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2017 7:46 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence east of Khan Yunis in the besieged Gaza Strip opened fire at agricultural lands Sunday morning, witnesses told Ma'an, with no injuries reported in the incident.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into reports.

Israeli army incursions inside the Palestinian territory have long been a near-daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas if they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza.

Earlier this month, a Palestinian fisherman went missing after an encounter with Israeli forces off the coast of Gaza, with his family announcing his death days later despite his body having yet to be recovered.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Israeli aircraft flew the Palestinian side of the “buffer zone" on the outskirts of the Khan Yunis, spraying Palestinian farmlands with weed killers.

Agronomist Wael Thabet of the Gaza Ministry of Agriculture told Ma’an that two years ago, the ministry had asked several international human rights groups to intervene and ask Israel to stop spraying weed killers near the border area.

"[The Israeli] occupation didn't respond positively and claimed that the process is meant to get rid of wild plants and weeds."

Thabet said that the excess spray can travel up to 1,200 meters through the air away from the buffer zone, burning crops and causing farmers huge economic losses. He added that the farmlands near the border area constitute about one third of the agricultural space in the besieged coastal enclave.
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