Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinians at the border fence between Israel and Gaza yesterday, killing one person and wounding 19 in the first bloodshed since a truce ended eight days of fighting on Wednesday night.
The incident, by itself, did not appear to jeopardise the ceasefire brokered by Egypt that brought an end to hostilities in which 166 Palestinians, about half civilians, and six Israelis were killed.
Nafez Azzam, a leader of the Islamic Jihad group, condemned the shooting as a violation of the ceasefire, but reports from Gaza said Hamas security personnel were preventing anyone from the Palestinian side approaching the fence.
Reports said hundreds of Palestinians approached the fence in southern Gaza testing to see if a 300 metre no-go zone was now accessible after the ceasefire. The Israeli army said the crowd had “rioted and caused damage to the fence”.
“Forces worked to distance the rioters and when they did not move away deterrent shots were fired in the air,” the army said. “A number of the rioters damaged the fence and tried to enter Israeli territory.
“Fire was opened towards their legs.”
The dead man was named as Anwar Abdul Hadi Qedeih, 20.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops arrested Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah activists, including five Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
A total of 28 people were arrested overnight and early yesterday in Nablus’s Balata Refugee Camp, Bethlehem and the Palestinian Authority seat of Ramallah, where Mahmoud Ramhi, deputy speaker of the legislative council, was taken into custody.