Palestinian said killed by Israeli fire in central Gaza
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Palestinian said killed by Israeli fire in central Gaza

Army says troops fired at a group of Palestinians who damaged the border fence; incident comes amid efforts to reach long-term truce in Strip

Illustrative: A Palestinian uses a slingshot to hurl stones during clashes on a beach near the maritime border with Israel, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on October 29, 2018. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: A Palestinian uses a slingshot to hurl stones during clashes on a beach near the maritime border with Israel, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on October 29, 2018. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

A Palestinian man was shot and killed Thursday in the southern Gaza Strip by Israeli troops, the Hamas-run health ministry in the coastal enclave said.

A ministry spokesman said the man, whom he did not name, was shot by Israeli forces during low-level clashes east of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces said a group of Palestinians approached the border fence and damaged it before soldiers opened fire “in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

The man would be the first Palestinian to die from IDF fire in Gaza in 10 days, as both Israel and Hamas have been negotiating a truce via Egyptian mediators.

The incident came as the Hamas-run ministry said a Palestinian shot last month during protests on the Israel-Gaza border succumbed to his wounds.

Ahmad al-Najar, 21, was shot by Israeli fire east of Khan Younis and was later transferred to the West Bank for treatment, a health ministry spokesman said in a statement.

He died on Wednesday, the spokesman added.

Palestinians react to tear gas fired by Israeli forces during clashes east of Gaza City near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on November 2, 2018. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Over 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of weekly border clashes in March, according an Associated Press tally, including a number of people who broke through the fence into Israel. Dozens of the fatalities were Hamas members. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Recent days have seen progress toward an agreement whereby Gaza’s Hamas rulers would stop the clashes in return for an easing of the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, which Israel says is necessary to prevent arms smuggling.

Israel has accused Hamas of fomenting the violence on the border, which has included the hurling of explosives at Israeli troops, attempts to breach the border fence, and the launching of incendiary explosive devices toward Israel.

Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seeks to destroy Israel, has controlled Gaza since it ousted the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in 2007 from the coastal enclave.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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