December 8, 2010 / 12:30 PM / 7 years ago

Militant mortar shell from Gaza wounds Israeli

GAZA (Reuters) - A mortar shell fired by militants in the Gaza Strip wounded an Israeli man at an agricultural community close to the border between the two territories late on Wednesday, the Israeli military said.

An army spokeswoman said Gaza militants fired about five mortar rounds and that the wounded man was hit by fragments from one of them. He was ferried to hospital in Beersheba by helicopter and his wounds were not life-threatening.

He was the first casualty of shells fired by Gaza militants into Israel since March when an agricultural laborer from Thailand was killed when he was hit by a mortar shell.

Gaza militants in the coastal territory that is ruled by the Islamist Hamas faction occasionally launch cross-border rocket and mortar strikes at Israel that rarely cause casualties. Israel uses tank fire or air strikes against militant targets and tunnels used to smuggle goods and arms into the blockaded territory from Egypt.

Israel ended 38 years of Gaza occupation in 2005 but it began blockading the strip in 2007 after Hamas Islamists hostile to the Jewish state seized power from Palestinians prepared to negotiate peace with Israel.

Writing by Ori Lewis

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