GAZA (Reuters) - Egyptian border troops shot dead a Palestinian youth as he tried to cross illegally from the Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian and Egyptian sources said.
Cairo has been clamping down on its Sinai frontier with Gaza, seeing a security threat in the Islamist Hamas-controlled enclave. But violence seldom flares up there.
Palestinian medical officials and residents in southern Gaza said the dead youth was shot by Egyptian border troops as he tried to slip across the border with three other youths.
Eyad Al-Bozom, spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza, wrote on his Facebook page that the youth killed by the Egyptian army gunfire was identified as Zaki Al-Hoobi.
An Egyptian army spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment. But Sinai police sources confirmed that Egyptian troops opened fire on a group of Palestinian youths who were trying to cross the border. Three were arrested inside Egypt and the fourth, shot, remained on the Palestinian side, they said.
The three youths taken into Egyptian custody said they came for cigarettes to sell back in Gaza, the police sources said.
With Gaza’s already difficult economy deteriorating further since the July-August war with Israel, some Palestinians have sought to migrate to Europe via Egypt. Cairo worries that Gaza could provide reinforcements and arms for an Islamist insurgency it is battling in Sinai.
Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Saleh al-Alaqni; Editing by Dan Williams and Alison Williams