GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy Thursday as he and six other unarmed teenagers tried to sneak from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the military said.
Two teenagers were wounded and taken to Israel for treatment.
Soldiers shot at the teenagers — who were carrying a ladder — when they came within 25 yards of Israel's barrier separating Israel and Gaza, an area where militants often lay bombs, the army said. It said soldiers aimed at the lower bodies of the teenagers, who were ages 14-17.
The boy killed was identified as Mohsan Daur, Palestinian hospital officials said. His body was discovered by Palestinian medics who after some delay received permission from Israel to enter the off-limits border area, Palestinian officials said.
Also in Gaza (search), Palestinian workers staged a protest Thursday against stringent new security measures that Israel imposed at a Gaza crossing after a suicide bomber killed four Israeli border guards there.
About 10 Palestinians were lightly wounded in the scuffle with troops, who fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the crowd of angry laborers in the third such incident at the Erez crossing (search) in the past four days.
Palestinian workers are enraged by the new security measures, which force them to stand in line for hours from before dawn, remove outer garments and walk slowly through the crossing holding their hands over their heads.
The new measures were instituted after a Palestinian blew herself up at Erez on Jan. 14, killing three Israeli soldiers and a security guard.
The Hamas (search) militant told troops that a metal plate in her leg had set off the metal detector, and she detonated the bomb after she was taken to a room for a security search.
The checkpoint was closed for several days after the incident, but was opened — with new security procedures — to allow thousands of Palestinian workers get to their jobs in Israel and the Erez industrial zone.
About 19,000 Palestinians from Gaza, an impoverished coastal strip rife with unemployment, have permits to cross into Israel for work, a fraction of the number allowed in before violence flared more than three years ago.
After the attack, some Palestinian workers criticized the bomber's choice of target, saying it was only going to make life more difficult. A U.S. official said Hamas' goal was to make Palestinians more miserable to generate further anger toward Israel.
Nasser Kaheeb, a 38-year-old Gazan who works in a wood factory near Tel Aviv, said only two security points were opened to the thousands of workers.
"They are treating us like animals. We are waiting here since two in the morning. No one can accept this treatment," he said.
Maj. Sharon Feingold said stringent checks were being imposed — including the lifting of clothing — to prevent a similar attack. She said the bomber caused the new checks by "cynically exploiting" Israel's goodwill.
"The minute that a woman manipulates the soldiers ... then we have to do things that may cause discomfort to people who need to cross," Feingold said.
Feingold said Israel quickly opened the crossing after the attack so as not to punish the workers for the bombing. The security area is still being renovated after the damage caused by the attack.
In Nablus, troops entered the center of the West Bank city and began conducting house-to-house searches, witnesses said. Explosions were heard in the area, and the mother of a fugitive used an army loudspeaker to call on her son, a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade (search), to surrender.