IDF nabs Gazan in third infiltration incident in under a week

Unarmed Palestinian suspect captured shortly after getting through security fence in northern Gaza Strip

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The Israel-Gaza border fence. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
The Israel-Gaza border fence. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers arrested an unarmed Palestinian man who broke through the Gaza security fence on Wednesday, in the third such infiltration in under a week, the army said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the man was arrested moments after he crossed from the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, near the community of Zikim.

He did not have a weapon in his possession, the army said.

The suspect was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

The infiltration came hours after two Palestinian men set fire to a wooden platform inside Gaza next to the security fence. In response, an IDF tank shelled two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip. The army stressed that the two suspects did not get through the security fence and enter Israeli territory.

Three armed Palestinian men walk past Kibbutz Tzeelim in southern Israel after breaking through the security fence around the Gaza Strip on March 27, 2018. (Screen capture)

On Tuesday, a group of three armed Palestinian men infiltrated into Israeli territory from Gaza, walking more than 20 kilometers (12 miles) into the country over the course of several hours before they were arrested outside the Tzeelim army base. They were found to be in possession of grenades and knives.

The army’s failure to immediately realize that there’d been a breach — signs of the infiltration were only found hours after it had happened — prompted Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to call for a full investigation of the incident.

Last Saturday, four masked Palestinian men cut through the security fence in southern Gaza and ran into Israeli territory. They tried to set fire to the engineering equipment being used to construct a barrier designed to counter efforts by terror groups to tunnel into Israel.

The army has also been preparing for a massive protest in Gaza scheduled for Friday, during which thousands of demonstrators are expected to take part and possibly try to break through the security fence.

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