Israeli Soldiers Shoot, Kill Unarmed Palestinian on Gaza Border

Palestinian man draws soldiers' suspicions after digging into the ground of the fortified border fence; shot after ignoring calls to turn back, as well as warnings shots.

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.