Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli shell hit east of Gaza City on Wednesday afternoon, with initial reports saying 11 were left injured, including three members of an armed group and three children, witnesses said.

The shelling came moments after four Israeli bulldozers and four tanks entered into the Gaza Strip, apparently preparing to tear-up agricultural lands along the occupied border zone.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, issued a statement shortly after the incident saying two mortar shells were fired on the bulldozers and tanks as they entered the Gaza border.

Spokesman of the higher committee of ambulance and emergency services, Adham Abu Salmiya, said ambulances were dispatched to the area to collect the wounded, and later confirmed that 11 were taken to hospital, including three members of the Al-Quds Brigades, and three children.

According to Abu Salmiya, two sustained serious injuries, five sustained moderate injuries and four were lightly injured.

An Israeli military statement confirmed that an "explosive device was detonated at an IDF force that was performing a routine activity near the security fence in the Northern Gaza Strip," and said after the explosion went off a mortar shell was fired at the force and five additional mortar shells were fired into Israeli territory.

The troops "identified a number of militants in the same area and returned fire in their direction. A direct hit was confirmed."

Another Palestinian, 22-year-old Nidhal Halwa, was shot in the leg by Israeli forces Wednesday afternoon while collecting construction aggregates in the northern Gaza Strip, east of Beit Hanoun, according to medical sources.


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