Israeli forces, on Friday, injured a Palestinian with live fire in the eastern part of al-Bureij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip, during clashes with Israeli forces deployed near the border between the besieged enclave and Israel.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Ma’an News Agency that a 23-year-old sustained light injuries in the leg as Israeli snipers opened live fire at several Palestinians as protests erupted in the refugee camp.
Meanwhile, protests were also reported in the eastern part of Gaza City, where witnesses said that Israeli snipers hid behind large dirt mounds as they shot live fire and tear gas bombs at protesters.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that protesters “approached the buffer zone“, after which Israeli forces “fired warning shots,” causing the protesters to retreat. The spokesperson made no comment on the reported injury.
Since the start of what Palestinians have termed the “Jerusalem Intifada” which spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have crowded near the borders with Israel every Friday to show solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
At least 26 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since October, the majority of whom were shot dead by Israeli forces during popular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israeli border. Though the unrest has settled down, Palestinians in Gaza continue to experience Israeli military incursions along Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone” on an almost daily basis, with Israeli forces routinely opening live fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and fishermen.
At least 161 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been injured by Israeli forces since the start of 2016, with 1,422 Gazans injured during 2015, according to UN documentation. At least 15,475 Palestinians in the whole of the occupied Palestinian territory were injured by Israeli forces during 2015.
The majority of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a near-decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.
The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable for residents by 2020, pointing to the devastation of war and the crippling effects of Israel’s blockade.
UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for providing services to some five million Palestinian refugees, noted last month that 80 percent of the population in Gaza were dependent on humanitarian assistance.
In related news, a member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, was killed by an electric shock on Saturday while working inside a tunnel in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The military wing released a statement confirming the death of Muhammad Shlouf from the city of Gaza.
A number of Palestinians in Gaza have been injured and killed in the vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave’s south and military purposes in the north.
In April and May, Israeli forces claimed to have uncovered the first two tunnels crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel’s brutal offensive on Gaza in 2014.
The Hamas movement which governs the blockaded Palestinian territory has been allegedly reconstructing a vast tunnel network intended to be used for carrying out attacks on Israeli military targets and civilians, swathes of which were destroyed during the war.
Archive IMEMC video: Gaza City’s Devastated Al-Shuja’eyya Suburb
While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons from the south, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gazans — who have been trapped under Israeli siege for a decade — including food, medicine, and much-needed infrastructure materials.
The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, al-Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400.
Related interest: 02/25/16 Why It’s Dangerous to Conflate Hamas and ISIS