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Middle East

Palestinians wounded by Israeli gunfire

Gunfire in Gaza and clashes in the West Bank as Palestinians mark eight years of protests against separation wall.
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2013 22:24
Protests in the West Bank marked eight years of rallies against the separation wall [Renee Lewis/Al Jazeera]

At least seven Palestinians were injured by Israeli soldiers on Friday, most of them in Gaza, according to medical sources.

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the health ministry in Gaza, said three men were moderately wounded by Israeli gunfire east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza. Earlier in the day, three farmesr were hurt by tank fire, he said.

Israeli military sources said that "Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip fired and damaged a military vehicle"; they dismissed the report of tank fire, saying the farmers were probably hurt in a "work accident," not as a result of Israeli fire.

"In addition, during the course of the day Palestinians gathered adjacent to the security fence, hurling firebombs and rocks at soldiers", which the army regarded as "serious events that threaten the security and stability in southern Israel."

In the West Bank, at least one person was hurt after being hit in the head by a rubber bullet, a Palestinian ambulance worker said, amid protests in different locations to mark eight years of rallies against the Israeli separation wall. Troops used tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters.

'Renewal of hope' 

The protesters called for the demolition of the separation wall, which snakes through the West Bank.

Israel says the wall has helped to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers. Palestinians call it a land grab, as it juts into the West Bank and cuts them off from their land in some places.

While giving a speech at a protests in Bilin village, Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, was evacuated after inhaling tear gas.

"Today we are celebrating the renewal of hope," Fayyad said.  "Our people will not take the wrong route, they know very well by instinct and experience what brings success and what brings failure, and they will not err on the way to a Palestinian state," he added. 

Four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire and over 100 wounded since the November 21 ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas leaders, according to the latest report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Under the terms of the Egyptian-mediated truce, Palestinians are supposed to have access to arable land in a buffer zone up to 100 metres from the border fence.

Israel allows "civilian access on foot to areas up to 100 meters from the perimeter fence for agricultural purposes only, and vehicular access to a distance of 300 metres," the OCHA report states.

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