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Israeli fire kills Palestinian near Gaza Strip border fence

Israel says dead man among three 'suspects' who approached border barrier - locals say they may have been trying to find work inside Israel
Mourners carry body of Yousef Abu Athira, killed by Israeli fire near Gaza fence on 22 March (Reuters)

Israeli fire killed a Palestinian man and wounded two others in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday near Israel's border fence with the Hamas-run enclave, hospital officials said.

The Israeli military said its forces "detected three suspects near the security fence and fired towards them, identifying one hit" in the pre-dawn incident.

The dead man was named by hospital officials as Yousef Abu Athira, 18, who was later buried in Rafah, southern Gaza.

No Palestinian militant group claimed the men as members, a sign, local residents said, that the three may have been trying to cross into Israel under the cover of darkness to seek work.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said Athira was killed before dawn by Israeli artillery fire east of Rafah.

He said two others suffered shrapnel wounds and were taken to Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital in Rafah. 

 Athira's cousin, Yasser Abu Athira, told al-Jazeera English that the 18-year-old was killed on family-owned farming land.

"We heard the noise of about 15 shells that came down. After a while, we found out that it was Yousef. The Israeli army said he was trying to get into Israel, but we completely deny that claim," he said.

"We are very angry and we blame this on the occupation and the Israeli army. He was not armed and he is not part of any faction."

More to follow.

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