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2 armed Palestinians captured trying to enter Israel from Gaza, IDF says

Military says suspects hurled ‘improvised weapon’ without causing injuries; one had a knife

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

View of the barrier along the Israel-Gaza border, on December 8, 2021. (Flash90)
View of the barrier along the Israel-Gaza border, on December 8, 2021. (Flash90)

Israeli troops detained two Palestinians attempting to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip early Monday morning, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the pair hurled an “improvised weapon” in the area, which caused no injuries or damage. One was also found to be carrying a knife, the IDF added.

The military did not clarify whether the suspects had successfully passed through the fence, in the southern part of the coastal enclave, when they were captured.

The two were later taken for questioning by the Shin Bet security service.

Last month, two Palestinians carrying grenades and a knife were captured by troops after attempting to cross the border.

Israel has a series of fences and walls bolstered with technology guarding its frontier with Gaza, both above and below ground, but a number of gaps remain in the steel fencing surrounding the Strip.

These gaps have been used by Palestinians in Gaza to illegally enter Israeli territory, often with hopes of fleeing the beleaguered enclave.

While attacks on Israeli civilians by those infiltrating from Gaza are rare, a Palestinian man crossed into Israel last May armed with several knives and attacked a security guard some five kilometers from the border fence, lightly hurting him. The suspect, who was shot and wounded by another guard, has been indicted for the attack.

Monday’s incident came after a tense weekend in southern Israel, after terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a rocket at the coastal city of Ashkelon. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, and the IDF struck several Hamas sites in response, including a lookout position overlooking a Israeli community near the Gaza border.

Saturday’s rocket attack came after the IDF touted new defensive measures as key to preserving one of the quietest periods along the Gaza border in years, while warning that Hamas was working to circumvent them in a potential surprise attack just over a year after the sides fought an 11-day conflict.

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