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10 years on, Israel arrests suspect in Gaza attack that killed 2 soldiers

Abdallah Daghmeh recently applied to enter Israel to donate bone marrow to his brother, was detained at border; victim Eliraz Peretz’s mother Miriam has received Israel Prize

Maj. Eliraz Peretz, left, and Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky, who were killed in a firefight with terrorists on the Gaza border in March 2010, in undated photographs. (Foreign Ministry)
Maj. Eliraz Peretz, left, and Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky, who were killed in a firefight with terrorists on the Gaza border in March 2010, in undated photographs. (Foreign Ministry)

Israeli security forces arrested a suspect in a 2010 attack along the Gaza Strip border that killed two soldiers as he entered Israel to donate bone marrow to his brother last month, the Shin Bet security service said Sunday.

Abdallah Daghmeh, 38, was indicted in a Beersheba District Court on Sunday and charged with murdering the two soldiers — Maj. Eliraz Peretz and Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky — as well as operating a terrorist organization and belonging to a terrorist organization.

Daghmeh was detained on July 6, as he entered Israel through Gaza’s Erez Crossing, in order to donate bone marrow to his brother, who is undergoing medical treatment in an Israeli hospital. He was permitted to undergo the medical procedure and donate the marrow while under arrest.

Prime Minister Netanyahu hailed the arrest. “All those who seek to harm us should know that even as the years pass, the State of Israel will not let up until we settle the score with terrorists,” he said in a statement.

On March 26, 2010, Israel Defense Forces troops spotted a group of Palestinian men near the Gaza security fence who appeared to be planting a bomb. When the soldiers arrived on the scene, terrorists in the Strip opened fire at them. A bullet struck one of Peretz’s grenades, causing it to detonate, killing him and Sviatkovsky and injuring two other soldiers.

Abdallah Daghmeh, who was charged with helping carry out a 2010 attack along the Gaza border in which two Israeli soldiers were killed on August 9. 2020. (Shin Bet)

According to the Shin Bet, Daghmeh took part in the deadly exchange of fire as a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terror group.

In a statement, the security service said Daghmeh, along with another member of the group, Adnan Abu Hani, agreed to a request by the organization to carry out an attack against Israeli troops in July 2008, and the two recruited a third man — Bassem Abu Daghmeh — to help them.

The three men scoped out an area along the border, near lands owned by Bassem, where they could plant the bomb in order to target Israeli troops operating in the area. They found such a location along the security fence between the Israeli towns of Nirim and Ein Hashlosha. They had their plan approved by their operators in the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which was supposed to provide them with the IED, the Shin Bet said.

Maj. Eliraz Peretz, left, and Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky, who were killed in a firefight with terrorists on the Gaza border in March 2010, in undated photographs. (Foreign Ministry)

However, the group ultimately did not give them a functioning device, so Daghmeh’s cell turned instead to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, which gave them the bomb and guns, as well as support from PIJ operatives, according to the security service.

According to the Shin Bet, Daghmeh ordered Bassem to plant the bomb, which sparked the firefight, in which at least one Palestinian gunman was also killed. Five months later, Bassem was killed as he attempted to plant another IED along the Gaza border.

“In addition to his involvement in this attack, the investigation found that Abdallah [Daghmeh] also served in a command position in the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades organization, was involved in terrorist activities against IDF soldiers and served as an operative of the organization until his arrest,” the Shin Bet said.

Maj. Eliraz Peretz had lost a brother, Uriel, in Lebanon in 1998. Their mother Miriam Peretz dedicated herself to giving educational, inspirational talks to teenagers and soldiers following the death of her sons.

She received the 2018 Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement and Special Contribution to Society for her work, and in 2014 lit a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony.

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