Israeli forces kill Palestinian near Gaza fence: army

Jerusalem: Israeli forces on Sunday shot dead a Palestinian suspected of placing a bomb near the Gaza border, before extracting his body with a bulldozer, the army said.

“Following the successful thwarting of the attack near the Gaza Strip fence earlier this morning, an IDF (Israeli army) bulldozer extracted the body of one of the attackers,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement identified the dead man as Mohammed Al-Naem, 27, a member of its armed Al-Quds Brigade forces.

Shortly after dark, cross-border fire broke out from the Gaza Strip, setting off warning sirens in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon and several other locations, the Israeli army said.

“Twenty launches were identified from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory,” a military statement said.

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It did not specify if they were rockets or shorter range mortar fire but said that about 10 attacks were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

There were no reports of casualties.

Palestinian security sources reported outgoing rocket fire.

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli army had said it “spotted two terrorists approaching the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip and placing an explosive device adjacent to it”.

“The troops opened fire towards them. A hit was identified,” a military statement said.

Following the incident, a video from Gaza emerged on social media showing a bulldozer approaching a body as young, apparently unarmed men, were trying to retrieve it.

The sound of gunfire is heard and the men ultimately run away as the bulldozer collects the body. A tank can be seen positioned nearby.

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The Gaza health ministry said that two civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire at the scene.

Hawkish Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has pursued a policy of retaining the bodies of militants from Gaza as bargaining chips to pressure Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Palestinian enclave, which has been holding the bodies of two Israeli soldiers since 2014.

The Israeli army meanwhile distributed footage of “the explosive device the terror squad placed this morning,” noting that the same Islamic Jihad “squad was involved in two previous attempts to place IEDs near the fence during the last few months”.

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