IDF hamer along the Gaza border
An IDF hammer along the Gaza border last year. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
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Palestinian sources reported on Friday that four citizens were moderately wounded in two incidents in the northern Gaza Strip.

According to the reports, a 20-year-old farmer was wounded in the eye after IDF soldiers fired tear gas. Three others were wounded by gunfire east of the Jabaliya refugee camp. The wounded were taken to a Gaza hospital.

The IDF said in response that only one Palestinian wounded.

Meanwhile, Israeli military police investigators are looking into the circumstances of the shooting death Wednesday of a 21-year-old Bethlehem woman, Lubnah Hanash. The IDF Spokesman declined to say whether Hanash, who is the first woman killed by IDF fire in the West Bank since April 2007, had been targeted in the shooting.

The IDF confirmed the incident, saying an initial investigation revealed that an army squad was ambushed by firebombs and rocks on Highway 60 near the Al-Aroub refugee camp and opened fire, fearing for their lives. Hanash was allegedly killed by an Israel Defense Forces officer at about 2 P.M. on a stretch of Route 60 in the West Bank between Bethlehem and Hebron.

In an unrelated incident, a 15-year-old boy from Bethlehem, Salah Amarin, died Wednesday at Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Karem in Jerusalem after being shot by Israeli troops on Friday near Rachel’s Tomb in the Bethlehem area. He had initially been taken to a local hospital, but was transferred to Hadassah for further treatment. The army said that he had been firing stones with a slingshot at an IDF position when he was shot.

There were clashes with IDF troops near Rachel’s Tomb during his funeral Wednesday and the area around the tomb was closed to visitors.
Amarin was the fourth unarmed Palestinian killed this month in the West Bank by security forces. On Saturday, Uday Kamil Mohammed Darwish, 21, from a village near Hebron, was killed after trying to cut through the security fence in the settlement of Metzadot Yehuda ‏(Beit Yatir‏). On Tuesday, Samir Awad, 16, was killed near the village of Budrus.

Investigations have been opened into the latter two cases, in which it appears that soldiers opened fire in violation of established procedure.

The army is on a footing geared to deal with violent incidents in the West Bank, and GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon signed an order 10 days ago creating a new criminal offense in the West Bank for endangering an individual on a public road, an offense that already exists in Israeli law. It carries a 20-year jail term.