Israeli troops shoot and wound five Palestinians on Gaza border

GAZA Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:36pm GMT

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GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli troops patrolling the border with the Gaza strip on Friday shot and wounded five Palestinians who were in an area on the Gaza side which Israel deems off limits, the Israeli army and Gaza medics said.

Gaza medical officials said the five agricultural workers suffered light to moderate wounds and were not in a life threatening condition.

An Israeli army spokesman said the men had approached an area close to the border fence and that troops "had acted according to set procedures" after the men did not heed calls to leave the area.

Israel bars Gazans from approaching the fence because it fears militants will attack border patrols or snipe at Israeli farmers working in fields that run close to the border.

Israeli troops have shot at Gazans near the border at least 10 times since the end of an eight-day offensive last month. Some 30 people have been wounded in the incidents, Gaza officials said.

Palestinian medical officials say some 170 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in last month's offensive. Six Israelis, including two soldiers, were also killed during the action that Israel launched with the declared aim of curbing cross-border rocket fire which has since stopped.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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