GAZA (Reuters) - Gunfire from Israeli forces killed a Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, local medics said, during border clashes with Palestinian militants.
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a militant group, said its gunmen had engaged in a gun battle with an Israeli force of four tanks and a bulldozer which had crossed over the border into the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian medics said the boy, aged 12, was hit by machinegun fire, either from Israeli helicopters or tanks.
The Israeli military said its forces, which had entered some 100 to 200 metres (yards) inside Gaza, came under fire and responded by firing at “suspicious locations”.
“Terrorists opened fire at IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) soldiers while they were performing routine activity adjacent to the security fence,” military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said.
An Israeli soldier was then lightly wounded when a tunnel containing a large amount of explosives detonated near the border fence, Leibovich said.
Israeli incursions into the enclave, run by the Islamist Hamas group, are usually aimed at searching for tunnels that could be used by militants to enter Israeli territory to wage attacks.
Leibovich said the military did not know who had dug the 4-metre (13 ft)-deep tunnel - which she said was the biggest Israeli forces has seen in recent years - or if the explosives had been detonated deliberately.
Asked about the boy’s death, she said: “I cannot confirm that we targeted anyone. We don’t have any information at all.”
Writing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Robin Pomeroy