Israeli Soldiers Wound Palestinian Near Erez Checkpoint
EREZ JUNCTION, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israeli soldiers wounded a Palestinian gunmen today near the border crossing where soldiers killed three PLO police two days earlier.
Two Palestinian gunmen fired at a soldier at the Erez crossing checkpoint, the Itim news agency said. The soldiers fired back, wounding one of the gunmen, and chased the assailants.
Israel then reportedly closed the crossing between Israel and Gaza.
The army confirmed only that there was shooting at the Erez junction and that Israeli forces suffered no casualties.
Two Palestinian witnesses said shots were fired from a nearby orange grove at an Israeli army jeep. Soldiers got out and fired back, lightly wounding a passerby at Erez, said one witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Following the shooting, Palestinian police began firing into the air, the witnesses said. One policeman told reporters the Israelis shot at them.
Israeli troops shot and killed three PLO policemen near the crossing Monday after they were fired on by an unknown gunman.
PLO police have threatened to take revenge, and Israel radio reported Wednesday that police warned one Palestinian to stay away from the terminal because of a planned act of vengeance.
The incident has further strained relations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization government which administers Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has expressed regret over Monday’s slayings, but Israel still maintains the Palestinian police fired first.
Israeli newspapers reported that forces were on high alert in the Gaza Strip in anticipation that Islamic radicals would launch an attack in reprisal for Monday’s deaths.