IDF tank near Gaza border - Emil Salman
IDF tank near Gaza border. Photo by Emil Salman
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Two Palestinian men were wounded by Israeli fire in the central Gaza Strip late Sunday, a Gaza health official said.

The Israel Defense Forces reports it is unaware of any Palestinians wounded from IDF fire. However it confirms shots were fired at the Gaza border around 9:00 p.m. Sunday, after Palestinians approached the fence, but reported the shots were fired in the air.

Health official Ashraf al-Kidra, said Israeli forces fired at the men east of Deir al-Balah late Sunday. Their identities were unclear.

The official initially said the men had been killed, but he said that the two were found to be seriously wounded.

Such incidents have been rare since Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers wrapped up an eight-day battle last month. Israel launched the offensive to stop years of rocket fire at Israeli communities.

IDF troops patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday shot and wounded five Palestinians who were in an area on the Palestinian side which Israel deems off limits, the IDF and Gaza medics said.

Gaza medical officials said the five agricultural workers suffered light to moderate wounds and were not in a life threatening condition.

An IDF spokesman said the men had approached an area close to the border fence and that troops "had acted according to set procedures" after the men did not heed calls to leave the area.

Israel bars Gazans from approaching the fence because it fears militants will attack border patrols or snipe at Israeli farmers working in fields that run close to the border.

Israeli troops have shot at Gazans near the border at least 10 times since the end of an eight-day offensive last month. Some 30 people have been wounded in the incidents, Gaza officials said.

Palestinian medical officials say some 170 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in last month's offensive. Six Israelis, including two soldiers, were also killed during the action that Israel launched with the declared aim of curbing cross-border rocket fire which has since stopped.