IDF shoots Gazan approaching border fence, reportedly killing him
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IDF shoots Gazan approaching border fence, reportedly killing him

Man killed identified as 20-year-old fisherman; army says soldiers followed rules of engagement

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative. A protester falls down on barbed fence as he runs for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli troops while others burn tires near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel during a protest east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Illustrative. A protester falls down on barbed fence as he runs for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli troops while others burn tires near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel during a protest east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A Gaza man was shot dead by Israeli troops Wednesday after approaching the security fence on the Israeli border, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry, as tensions persisted after a ceasefire Tuesday ended some of the heaviest fighting in years.

The Israeli military confirmed that soldiers opened fire as a group of Palestinian men were spotted walking toward the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, near the Israeli community of Kibbutz Zikim.

According to media reports, the suspect was shot as he continued approaching the fence despite warning shots being fired.

An army spokesperson said the soldiers “operated in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

The Israel Defense Forces refuses to fully disclose its rules of engagement. Generally, however, soldiers on the border are permitted to open fire in cases of a direct threat to life or when there is a threat to defense infrastructure like the security fence.

The Palestinian man was identified by the health ministry as 20-year-old Nawaf Ahmad al-Attar, a fisherman.

Palestinian media outlets reported that al-Attar had been killed at sea — something the IDF denied.

Earlier in the day, Israeli troops shot and arrested a Palestinian man who threw a number of grenades at the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.

The grenades failed to explode.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, when he was arrested, the suspect was found to be in possession of a pair of boltcutters and a knife.

The two incidents came less than a day into a fragile ceasefire between Israel and terror groups in the Strip, after more than 460 rockets and mortars were fired into southern Israel over the course of 25 hours, killing one person. The military responded to the rockets with airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip.

Officials assess the damage to a house after it was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

There were no reports of rocket fire into Israel, or of Israeli strikes on Gaza, since Tuesday afternoon, when the ceasefire reportedly went into effect. Palestinians said the truce was brokered by Egypt.

Israel has yet to formally confirm the existence of a ceasefire, but senior diplomatic officials indicated that Jerusalem would abide by it so long as terror groups in the Strip did as well.

In addition, the IDF Home Front Command on Tuesday night removed all restrictions on residents of southern Israel, declaring a “return to normalcy.”

Nevertheless, the IDF still kept reinforcements in place surrounding Gaza.

IDF forces seen gathering near the border with Gaza in southern Israel on November 13, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

According to the military, over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel over the course of 25 hours on Monday and Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted over 100 of them. Most of the rest landed in open fields, but dozens landed inside Israeli cities and towns, killing one person, injuring dozens, and causing significant property damage.

In response to the rocket and mortar attacks, the Israeli military said it targeted approximately 160 sites in the Gaza Strip connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups, including four facilities that the army designated as “key strategic assets.”

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