A Gaza-based human rights group on Sunday expressed “deep concern” at what it called Israeli troops’ use of excessive force in Friday’s fatal shooting of a young Palestinian.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said in a statement that soldiers shot dead Odah Jihad Hamad, 27, and wounded his brother Raddad, 22, as they picked through scrap in wasteland next to the Gaza-Israel frontier at Beit Hanun in the north of the coastal strip.
“Israeli forces used excessive force and directly opened fire at them, although it was clear that the two civilians were collecting steels and plastics from the landfill near the border fence,” the PCHR said.
The Israeli military said it opened fire at Palestinians near the border in response to Palestinian violence, including the firing of a mortar round that hit southern Israel and throwing rocks at soldiers.
The PCHR said troops had also used unneccessary force at a separate border incident on Friday, when they wounded three Palestinians near Jabaliya about five kilometres (three miles) from Beit Hanun in response to stone-throwing at soldiers.
“PCHR is deeply concerned over these crimes, which further prove the use of excessive force by Israeli forces in disregard for the civilians’ lives,” it said. “These grave breaches constitute war crimes.”
Before Friday, the last deadly incident in Gaza was on November 1, when four Hamas militants were killed and five Israeli soldiers wounded during an army operation to destroy a Gaza-Israel tunnel.