Israeli troops kill 1, test ceasefire

INT
Health officials on Friday said a 20-year-old Palestinian was killed and nine others wounded in a clash with Israeli soldiers in the southeast Gaza Strip, testing the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel after wild celebrations here on Thursday.

The Gaza leadership said the deal, announced on Wednesday in Cairo to end eight days of ferocious exchanges, includes an Israeli promise to halt "incursions" into a 1,000-foot-wide buffer zone along Gaza's northern and eastern borders where Palestinians have not been allowed to go.

Maan, Palestine news agency, reported that a group of Palestinians went to Abassan, a border area east of the southern town of Khan Younis, on Friday to pray on their land, and ended up throwing stones at soldiers, who responded with gunfire. The man killed was identified as Ahmad Qudih.

A spokesman for the Israeli military said there were a number of demonstrations taking place on the Gaza side of the border and Israeli forces on the Israeli side of the border between Gaza and Israel fired warning shots but gave no further details. The spokesman said there had been no incursion.

It remained unclear whether Hamas would depict it as violation of the still uncertain ceasefire.

The border area has long been a focal point of tension. In the days leading up to Israel's military offensive against Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza, Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli military jeep patrolling the border, injuring four soldiers, and Hamas claimed responsibility for detonating a tunnel packed with explosives that ran along the border while an Israeli force was nearby.

The episode came a day after Palestinians erupted in triumphant celebrations Thursday, vowing new unity among rival factions and a renewed commitment to tactic of resistance, while Israel's leaders sought to soberly sell achievements of their latest military operation to a domestic audience long skeptical of ceasefire deals like the one announced Wednesday night.

After intense Israeli shelling that killed 162 Gazans, including 30 militant commanders, and flattened many government buildings and homes, people poured onto the bomb-blasted streets, beaming as they shopped and strolled under the shield of the ceasefire agreement reached in Cairo.

There were neither celebrations nor significant protests in Israel, where people in southern cities passed the first day in more than a week without constant sirens signaling incoming rockets. Instead, an uneasy, even grim calm set in.

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