Five Palestinians were wounded by Israeli army gunfire near the separation barrier in the northern Gaza Strip, on Friday, according to Palestinian medical sources.(Ma’an/AFP) Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry in the territory, said the five men were in their early twenties.

One was in serious condition from a shot to the chest, he told AFP.

Palestinian witnesses said the soldiers opened fire after they were attacked by stones hurled over the border fence.

Clashes are common on Fridays, with regular protests near the border in support of Gaza farmers who say troops uprooted their trees to create a buffer zone.

The zone extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.

Photo: An Israeli army tank keeps position near a security fence standing
on the Gaza border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern
Gaza Strip, during a demonstration by Palestinian youths on Nov.
23, 2012