updated 8/27/2007 6:30:05 AM ET 2007-08-27T10:30:05

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip on Monday as he approached the border fence with Israel, the Israeli army and Palestinian doctors said.

The middle-aged Palestinian was found, unarmed, in a no-man’s land along the fence south of the Karni crossing with Israel, Palestinian doctors said. Israeli troops suspected the man had tried to lay an explosive and saw him climbing the fence, the army said. When the man saw the troops, he jumped off the fence and began to flee. The soldiers fired at him and saw he was hit, the army said.

Troops did not know if he was armed, the army said. Palestinian militants frequently lay explosives against patrolling troops in the area.

Incidents of unarmed Palestinians approaching the fence have increased since the Islamic militant group Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip in June. On Sunday, six Palestinians apparently looking for work tried to cross the fence into Israel, but were caught by Israeli troops.

Israel has virtually sealed off Gaza since the Hamas takeover, allowing through only essential necessities, humanitarian cases and a few dozen Palestinians with work and study permits abroad. Israel withdrew in 2005 from the Gaza Strip, where 1.4 million Palestinians live.

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