Israeli troops target European diplomats

Israeli troops fired shots at a convoy of diplomatic vehicles at a military roadblock in the Gaza Strip on Monday, twice hitting the windscreen of one of the cars, diplomatic sources said. 

Israeli troops fired
on European diplomats

The diplomats were from Switzerland, Britain, Greece, Sweden, and Austria.

They were badly shaken by the incident as the their small convoy was stopped, leaving the town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, close to the main Erez crossing with Israel,the sources said.

A spokesperson from the Swiss Foreign Ministry said its representative to the Palestinian Authority and a colleague had come under Israeli fire at a Gaza roadblock on Monday, but was unhurt.

He said his armoured vehicle was clearly marked as a diplomatic car and it was unclear why it was shot at. The diplomat was held up for about an hour before being allowed to proceed.

The spokesman said the ministry was looking into the incident and “demands a comprehensive investigation” by Israel.

The Israeli army declined to comment.

However, Israeli military sources told Reuters the army had closed the entrance to Beit Hanoun because of “warnings of attempts by terror organisations” to leave the town.

“There were a number of vehicles in a traffic jam trying to leave Beit Hanoun. Some of the vehicles tried to bypass the roadblock and shots were fired into the air to deter them and restore order. The claim of hits on a diplomatic car is being checked by the army now,” one military source said.

Israeli occupation forces launched a raid into Beit Hanoun earlier this month, which it said was intended to prevent Palestinian groups from firing rockets from the town into nearby southern Israel.