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Israeli troops shoot dead 3 Palestinians along Gaza border

Three Palestinians were shot dead on Tuesday [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 January, 2020

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Three Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli security forces on Tuesday after allegedly attempting to cross the border from Gaza.
Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians who crossed into Israel from Gaza and allegedly hurled an explosive device at soldiers, the army said on Tuesday.

"I can confirm that all three were killed," an army spokeswoman told AFP.

The army earlier reported that shots had been fired but without detailing Palestinian casualties.

"We just identified 3 terrorists who crossed the security fence from #Gaza into #Israel," the army wrote on Twitter.

"After our soldiers arrived at the scene, the terrorists hurled an explosive device at them. In response, our soldiers opened fire at the terrorists. Hits were identified."

Israeli public radio claimed the raiders penetrated 400 metres (yards) into Israel from central Gaza "under cover of stormy weather" before the troops stopped them.

The army said Israeli civilians living in the vicinity near the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip had not been in danger at any time. 

Gaza's ruling body Hamas has over the past year gradually shaped an informal truce with Israel, under which the Jewish state has slightly eased its crippling blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm.

But Israel in November assassinated a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, a Hamas-allied militant group in Gaza, sparking a flare-up in which 36 Palestinians were killed. No Israelis died.

Islamic Jihad over two days fired around 450 rockets towards Israel, many of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, according to the army.

Israel struck dozens of targets in Gaza.

The incident on Tuesday came just days after Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian woman said to be in her 50s on Saturday, claiming that she attempted to stab an officer in Jerusalem.

The woman approached police officers with a knife at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City, police said in a statement.

Several videos emerged on social media of the woman being pushed to the ground, handcuffed and marched out of the Old City and taken for questioning at a detention centre, while the area was placed on lockdown.

However Jerusalem-based Palestinian activist Alaa al-Haddad told The New Arab's Arabic-language service that the officers arrested the woman after they claimed to have found a fruit knife in her bag when searching her at a checkpoint.

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That incident comes on the same day a Palestinian youth was arrested in the West Bank city of Hebron, who Israeli security forces also alleged stabbed an Israeli settler.

Local media report that the settler was injured after an altercation with the unnamed Palestinian near the settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron.

The 22-year-old settler was taken for treatment for moderate injuries, according to the Israeli emergency services.

Palestinian sources explained that the incident happened on a road between the settlement and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a religious site for Jews which many of the city's settlers frequently visit.

The tomb building also houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, a significant religious site for Muslims which witnesses frequent clashes due to tensions over access to the mosque and the proliferation of illegal settlements near the tomb which has led to a bulked up Israeli military presence.

The latest developments come at a time of heightened tensions in Jerusalem over the al-Aqsa compound.

Last week, Hamas called for Palestinians to "mobilise" during Friday prayers against the "defilement" of the compound and of Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque.

Groups of hundreds of settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa compound at night under the protection of Israeli security forces, demanding the site - which is built on the ruins of second Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism - be returned to Israel.

Palestinians worshippers gathered outside al-Aqsa on leaving Friday prayers, chanting: "With spirit and blood, we will salvage Al-Aqsa."

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