IDF hamer along the Gaza border
An IDF hammer along the Gaza border last year. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
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Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian who crossed in from Gaza on Saturday, fearing he was a security threat though he proved to be unarmed, military sources said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, had first drawn soldiers' suspicions by digging into the ground on the Gazan side of the fortified border fence, where Palestinian gunmen have in the past mounted ambushes, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said.

He then clambered over the fence, carrying a suspicious item that the troops could not see clearly, she said. They shot him dead after he ignored their calls to turn back as well as warnings shots.

The army spokeswoman did not give further details on what the Palestinian was carrying. An Israeli military source said, however, that no weapons were found on him.

The IDF said the incident was under investigation.

While the Gaza-Israel border has been a flashpoint of fighting, especially during flare-ups such as the November mini-war in the coastal enclave, such violence has abated recently .In an effort to isolate the hostile Islamist Hamas government, Israel controls commercial traffic across the border, contributing to economic hardship in Gaza. Palestinians there have on occasion sought to slip into Israel for work.