Ma'an News Agency
April 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian operative in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, Palestinian and Israeli security sources said, following witness accounts of heavy fire.

Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades said its operatives clashed with Israeli forces along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday. In a statement, the armed wing reported that at 6am, its forces acted defensively against an undercover Israeli force that entered Gaza.

Israeli forces reportedly opened fire at the Al-Aqsa fighters, killing one. Another affiliate remained missing Friday afternoon, the group said.

Dr Mu’awiyah Hassanein, the head of ambulance and emergency services at the Health Ministry in Gaza, confirmed that one Palestinian was killed in the clashes. The deceased was not immediately identified.

An Israeli military spokesman told Ma'an that an "IDF force identified a Palestinian gunman planting explosive devices near the security fence ... The gunman threw a hand grenade at the force, which responded by firing back. During the exchange of fire, the force identified hitting the gunman."

No soldiers were reported injured during the incident, the spokesman added.

An Israeli security source, meanwhile, said the Palestinian appeared to have died.

In a separate statement, the army explained that the "presence of Palestinian civilians in the area adjacent to the security fence in Gaza is used by terrorist organizations as cover for their activities, including planting explosive devices, planning terrorist attacks and attempts to kidnap IDF soldiers.

"For this reason, the IDF considers this a combat zone."


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