5 Palestinians arrested after crossing into Israel from Gaza
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5 Palestinians arrested after crossing into Israel from Gaza

Apparently unarmed men taken for questioning after breaching border in the enclave’s south

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers carry away an injured Palestinian who the army says tried to breach the border fence east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on June 27, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Illustrative: Israeli soldiers carry away an injured Palestinian who the army says tried to breach the border fence east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on June 27, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces early Thursday morning apprehended five Palestinians who crossed the border from Gaza into the country.

The men were arrested at around 2 a.m. after breaching the fence in the south of the Gaza Strip and taken in for questioning, the military said.

In its brief statement, the army did not say that the men were armed.

In recent years, as the humanitarian conditions in the coastal enclave have worsened, Israeli security forces have arrested a number of Palestinians who have fled Gaza in favor of Israeli prisons.

In many cases, these Gazans enter Israeli territory with knives and explosives in order to make it more likely that they will be imprisoned for longer terms than if they had come unarmed.

In such cases, the Israeli military generally returns the Palestinians to the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians climb the border fence with Israel during clashes near the fence along the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, on March 8, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Since last March, the Gaza border has seen large-scale weekly clashes on Fridays, smaller protests along the northern Gaza border on Tuesdays, as well as periodic flareups between the Israeli military and Palestinian terror organizations.

Israel accuses the Gaza Strip’s Islamist Hamas rulers, who openly seek the Jewish state’s destruction, of orchestrating the protests.

Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass incursions into its territory.

It accuses the Hamas terror group, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Judah Ari Gross and agencies contributed to this report.

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