IDF shoots unarmed Palestinian swimming in from Gaza

Man hit in the leg after ignoring navy’s warning shots; motive for attempted infiltration unknown

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli navy vessels patrolling near Zikim, July 9, 2014 (Edi Israel/Flash90)
Israeli navy vessels patrolling near Zikim, July 9, 2014 (Edi Israel/Flash90)

IDF soldiers on Wednesday shot and injured a Palestinian man as he tried to swim from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

A navy patrol boat intercepted the unarmed swimmer as he crossed a security barrier in the sea in the area of Zikim beach, close to the border with Gaza. Soldiers called on the man to halt and fired shots into the air, shooting him in the leg after he ignored the warnings.

The man was taken to Barzilai Medical Center for treatment. His purpose for trying to cross into Israel was unknown.

In the past, Palestinians from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have attempted to cross into Israeli to carry out attacks.

During the 2014 summer war, when the IDF battled Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip, Hamas attempted to launch an attack on Israeli territory by sea.

During one infiltration from the sea on July 8, Hamas frogmen succeeded in reaching the shore and engaging IDF forces in Zikim, which lies a kilometer north of the Gaza-Israel border. Four Hamas divers were ultimately killed in the attempt. A later leaked video revealed that one of the Hamas commandos had attached a bomb to a tank. It exploded without causing damage.

Last month, four senior Hamas naval commandos who were heading overseas — apparently to Iran — for training were abducted on a bus traveling from Rafah to Cairo airport. In Gaza, it is believed that the four were intercepted by Egyptian intelligence operatives.

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