Hamas Deploy Police on Israel Border to Prevent Incidents
Hamas temporarily deployed police on Gaza's border with Israel to prevent incidents that could imperil a fresh truce, sources said on Saturday, a day after Israel shot and killed one person there.
Security forces "have been deployed along the Gaza Strip border to preserve the implementation of the truce," the spokesman for the Hamas interior ministry, Islam Shahwan, told AFP.
"Police were deployed Friday night east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, in order to protect the lives of citizens, victims of Israeli aggression," he added.
Shahwan was referring to Israeli soldiers opening fire on residents of Khouzaa, near Khan Yunis, who approached the border. One person was killed and 19 wounded.
Hamas denounced the event as "the first Israeli violation of the truce," which was agreed on Wednesday and ended eight days in which 166 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed, saying they would raise the matter with the Egyptian mediators.
Following the Friday death, unarmed Hamas police were deployed in the area to prevent access in coordination with Egypt, without the risk of being fired at by Israel.
This was the first time since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 such a move was possible, a source familiar with the matter said.
"Israel asked Egypt to intervene to keep dozens of Palestinians away from the border for fear of deterioration. Members of the Gaza police were dispatched to keep Palestinian farmers away in coordination with Egypt," said the source.
A spokesman for the Israeli army said they were aware of the recent deployment.
In addition, a statement from Gaza premier Ismail Haniya said they were informed by the head of Egyptian intelligence that "under the truce, fishermen would be allowed access up to six nautical miles instead of three."
An Israeli official would not confirm the reported change, but said "it was agreed with the Egyptians that these issues would be discussed in a bilateral dialogue between Israel and Egypt, and that is in fact happening."
Israel also maintains a "buffer zone" of approximately 300 meters (yards) in the Gaza Strip along the border, and prevents access to Palestinians under threat of firing.