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Palestinian farmer in Gaza killed by Israeli army fire: Health ministry

Israel says soldiers opened fire at Palestinian who entered 'banned zone' near Gaza's border with Israel
A Palestinian farmer plows his land in Gaza Strip near border fence with Israel (AFP/file photo)

A Palestinian farmer was killed on Saturday by Israeli army fire near the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, the health ministry of Hamas said.

According to Palestinian reports, the farmer was shot while working on an agricultural plot of land he owned east of Khan Younis, Haaretz reported. The health ministry said he was moderately injured by Israeli fire and evacuated to the hospital. His condition later deteriorated and doctors pronounced him dead.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian man who had entered a "banned zone" near Gaza's border with Israel, but gave no further details. He was shot after army forces feared he would try to cross, Haaretz said.

The health ministry identified the farmer as 59-year-old Mohammed Abu Jumaa.

The area around the border fence between Gaza and Israel is the scene of frequent demonstrations by Palestinians to protest the Israeli blockade of the enclave.

There has also been a rise in tension since the controversial announcement made in December by US President Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The move angered Palestinians who consider the east of the city as the capital of their future state.

Israel and Palestinian fighters in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008 and the territory has been under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years.

UN Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov has warned that Gaza - which also suffers from water and power cuts, unemployment and poverty - was on the verge of "full collapse".

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