Demonstrators protest near the border fence w
Demonstrators protest near the border fence wReuters

Five Arabs were wounded by Israeli army gunfire Friday near the border fence in northern Gaza, medical sources told the AFP news agency.

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry, said the five men were in their early twenties.

One was in serious condition from a shot to the chest, he told AFP.

Witnesses said the soldiers opened fire after they were attacked by stones hurled over the border fence.

An IDF spokeswoman told AFP there were a series of clashes along the border, including east of Jabalia, where "Palestinians hurled stones at soldiers and tried to sabotage the security fence."

"The soldiers tried to distance the crowd using riot dispersal means and firing several warning shots in the air" before shooting "towards one main instigator," she said.

Clashes are common on Fridays, with regular protests near the border in support of Gaza farmers who claim troops uprooted their trees to create a buffer zone.

The rioters often come too close to the border fence and ignore the soldiers’ calls from them to retreat.

Several weeks ago, two Gazan Arabs were wounded when IDF soldiers fired live rounds and tear gas at protesters who approached the border fence in Gaza and failed to comply with orders to turn back.

A similar incident took place in early January.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)