Erez crossing (archive)
Photo: AP

Report: Palestinian pilgrim killed by IDF fire at Erez crossing

Palestinian sources claim Israeli troops opened fire at pilgrims returning from Mecca to Gaza Strip through Erez border crossing, one woman reported killed. IDF denies its troops fired

Palestinian sources claimed Sunday evening that IDF forces manning the Erez border crossing in northern Gaza opened fire at Palestinians returning after completing the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca.


Palestinian medics said one woman was killed and at least four more were injured. One woman is said to be in critical condition. Witnesses said soldiers first fired into the air and then at the crowd of pilgrims. 


But the army denied its troops had opened fire at the crossing and said it would look into the reports.


Palestinian officials said about 700 pilgrims had crossed back into Gaza on Sunday, having returned from Saudi Arabia via Jordan.


Meanwhile Egyptian authorities took more than 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims from the Red Sea port of Nuweiba to el-Arish in north Sinai on Sunday as Egypt, Israel and Palestinian officials negotiated their return to Gaza.


The Egyptians tried to persuade the group to spend the night in shelters at a sports complex in the Mediterranean town or at a youth hostel until a decision is reached on their return.


But an Egyptian security source said most of the pilgrims refused to disembark and said they would stay on their buses until they go back to Gaza.


Hamas had demanded that Egypt reopen the Rafah crossing to allow the pilgrims to pass directly into the

coastal territory rather than force them to pass through Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom border crossing.

Israel and Egypt both insist however that they all pass through Israeli security checks, fearing Hamas militants hiding amongst them would try to smuggle in large sums of cash into Gaza.


Hanan Greenberg and Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.30.07, 23:19
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