British lawmaker alleges Israeli soldiers fired at group during visit to Gaza

Baroness Northover, the British Liberal Democrat party’s spokeswoman on international development issues.

LONDON (AP) — A member of Britain’s House of Lords said Saturday that Israeli soldiers shot at her and two other lawmakers during a fact-finding visit to Gaza the day before.

Baroness Northover, the Liberal Democrat party’s spokeswoman on international development issues, said the group was traveling under U.N. supervision near the Rafah refugee camp Friday when soldiers in an Israeli observation post fired machine guns over their heads.

A large number of children were nearby, she said.

The group then moved closer to marked U.N. vehicles and another shot hit a building next to them, chipping off pieces of masonry near Northover, she said in a statement.

“This incident has shown me first hand the indiscriminate violence faced by Palestinians on a daily basis,” she said. “If the Israeli Defense Force are prepared to shoot at a delegation of Parliamentarians under the supervision of the U.N., one wonders what treatment ordinary Palestinians are given.”

She said the Israeli military appeared to be trying to prevent the group, which also included Labour Party legislator Huw Irranca-Davies and Conservative Crispin Blunt, from seeing “the full effects of Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian housing in Gaza.”

Northover said that when the lawmakers returned to Britain they would seek an explanation from Israel’s ambassador to London.

The Israeli Army said it was unaware of the alleged shooting but would investigate.

“It should be emphasized that the delegation did not coordinate their arrival with either the Foreign Ministry or the Defense Ministry and that only late Saturday afternoon a formal complaint was received” after the claim was aired in the media, the army said.

The army emphasized that Rafah was a combat zone, with almost daily outbreaks of violence.

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