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Palestinian shot near Gaza border, first fatality since ceasefire

Altercation on Gaza border disturbs break in violence.

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Israeli soldiers sit on top of an Israeli mobile artillery canon unit at an army deployment area near the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Nov. 20, 2012. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli troops shot a Palestinian man near the Gaza border today, local officials told the Associated Press, the first reported fatality since a Wednesday truce ended eight days of deadly cross-border attacks. 

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Hamas officials today condemned the killing as a violation of ceasefire terms, according to BBC News

The incident took place early today on Gaza's Khan Younis border. Gaza health official Adnan Abu Salmia told AP a Palestinian man was walking up to the Gaza border fence, prompting warning fire from Israeli troops in an altercation that ended in the man's death and injured some 19 others, said AP. The Gaza health ministry identified as the man as 23-year-old Anwar Qdeih, according to BBC

One of his relatives, Omar Qdeih, told Reuters, "Anwar was trying to put a Hamas flag on the fence." He said Israeli forces fired three rounds in the air before shooting the young man in the head. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the warning shots, saying the were attempting to dissuade a crowd of several hundred people from advancing toward the border. Several other groups reportedly approached the border in various parts of Gaza today, said AP

No violence was reported outside that of the Khan Younis incident, said AP, but the exchange prompted a warning tweet from IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich: 

Meanwhile, Gaza's Hamas representatives are set to meet with Israeli envoys and Egyptian officials in Cairo today to hammer out the next phase of the ceasefire, including a new border reportedly being discussed for the Israeli-blockaded Gaza region, said AP

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told Agence-France Press that today's killing will also be brought up in Cairo, saying the group "will raise this violation with Egyptian mediators to make sure that it does not happen again."

Hamas insists that Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza, but Israel says the measures are critical to its national security. 

Violence between the two sides broke out eight days ago, leading to an intense exchange of fire believed to have killed some 158 people, according to provisional United Nations figures cited by BBC

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121123/palestinian-shot-near-gaza-border-firs