Palestinian killed at Gaza border fence

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IOL israel soldiers AFP File photo: Israeli soldiers keep watch as Palestinian youths demonstrate next to the security fence standing on the Gaza border with Israel.

Ramallah, West Bank - The Israeli military shot and killed one Palestinian near the border fence with Gaza on Friday, an official in the territory said. The military said that he was part of a group who rushed the fence to try to damage it.

A military spokesman said soldiers warned the Palestinians to back off before firing first into the air and then toward the men's legs. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said one man was killed by the fire.

Such border incidents have been less common since eight days of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza militants at the end of last year that ended in a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the group that rules the coastal territory.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, activists pitched tents to protest Israeli plans to build a large Jewish settlement on a key route through the territory.

The group said in a statement they erected the tents to “establish facts on the ground,” using a phrase often applied to Israeli settlement building, in a key area known as E-1.

The E-1 settlement would block east Jerusalem from its West Bank hinterland - both territories captured by Israel during the 1967

Mideast war.

The Palestinians want those areas, along with the Gaza Strip, for a future state. Critics say the E-1 settlement would be a major blow to Palestinian statehood hopes.

Police said the activists were informed they were trespassing.

Israel announced it is moving forward with the E-1 settlement after the U.N. recognized a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in November. The U.S. strongly opposes the E- 1 project.

Israeli officials have said construction may be years away. - Sapa-AP

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