Gaza’s Hamas rulers bolstered the security presence along the enclave’s border Wednesday night, in an effort to keep Palestinians from crossing into Israel, hours after sniper fire from Gaza left an IDF soldier seriously wounded and IDF return fire left a Hamas commander dead.
Gaza Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm said the measure was an effort to prevent Israel from recruiting “collaborators” — Palestinian informants who work with Israeli security agencies, according to the Ma’an Palestinian news agency.
He did not mention the flare-up in the decision, except to say that the situation in the Strip was stable despite difficult circumstances.
“There are a few cases where young people try to sneak into [Israel], but Palestinian security forces have arrested some this year and Israeli forces arrested those who successfully entered,” al-Buzm said.
“We are looking carefully at the issue in order to stop the Israeli side from recruiting collaborators,” later adding that security forces have spent the last two months preventing Palestinians from illegally crossing into Israel.
The decision was made on Wednesday, just hours after the IDF were engaged in a firefight with gunmen from the Strip. The IAF later bombed a Hamas position in Gaza — killing a Hamas commander and injuring two others — after an Israeli soldier was severely injured by sniper fire.
According to Haaretz, 94 Palestinians have crossed into Israel without documents since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge in July, including 10 during the conflict.
While some Gazans have crossed into Israel with an explicit desire to commit acts of terrorism, many leave the coastal enclave in an effort to seek economic opportunities or flee persecution from Hamas — a regime consistently described as authoritarian by human rights groups.
Al-Buzm also claimed that Palestinian security forces are hampered by Israel’s buffer zone it maintains within the Gaza Strip, which he said aided individuals — described mostly as youths — from crossing into the Jewish state.
“We still have some procedures to carry out in order to completely stop infiltration. Those who are caught will be punished appropriately,” he added.