Civilian walks into Gaza, returns to Israel, is detained by troops — IDF

Soldiers dispatched to scene after man spotted entering Strip near Be’eri, motive unknown

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

IDF Humvees enter the Gaza Strip near Kibbutz Be'eri, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
IDF Humvees enter the Gaza Strip near Kibbutz Be'eri, February 8, 2024. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

An Israeli civilian crossed into the Gaza Strip near the devastated community of Kibbutz Be’eri on Sunday, in circumstances still under investigation, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said the civilian was spotted by soldiers monitoring surveillance cameras, who dispatched troops to the scene but apparently arrived too late because a short while later, the civilian returned on his own to Israel where he was then detained.

Authorities were still investigating why he entered Gaza.

It was not immediately clear how deep into the Strip he reached before returning.

The IDF did not detail how the man crossed into the Strip, although some parts of the Gaza border fence remain open for Israeli military convoys.

Last month, two young Israeli children managed to slip under the Gaza border fence, heading toward the Strip while carrying an Israeli flag. The IDF said the two children crawled under the fence, built in Israeli territory, but did not cross into Gaza territory.

The Gaza border area is a closed military zone as war is waged against Hamas. Inside Gaza, Palestinians are generally prohibited from reaching areas near the frontier, with the army working to expand a buffer zone running along the border.

War erupted on October 7 with a cross-border onslaught in which Hamas-led terrorists killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians, amid acts of brutality and sexual assault. Terrorists also abducted 253 people who were taken as hostages to Gaza, where more than half remain captive.

Israel responded to the attack with a military campaign with the stated aims of destroying Hamas, removing it from power in Gaza, and securing the release of the hostages.

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