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IDF troops apprehend two Gaza men with hand grenades near border

Suspects taken in for interrogation by Israel’s security services; incident follows death of Palestinian man also seen approaching border this week

Illustrative: A picture taken from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip shows Israeli soldiers inspecting the area around their observation post next to the border fence with the coastal enclave on August 1, 2019, following a firefight with a Palestinian gunman. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Illustrative: A picture taken from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip shows Israeli soldiers inspecting the area around their observation post next to the border fence with the coastal enclave on August 1, 2019, following a firefight with a Palestinian gunman. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Israeli troops apprehended two Palestinian men who tried to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israel carrying hand grenades, the Israeli military said Saturday.

The two were taken in for interrogation by Israel’s security services, according to the announcement.

On Thursday, Israeli troops fired at a Palestinian man who was seen approaching the border, killing him, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

The military said troops fired at the man after he was seen approaching the border with two other men in a suspicious way by IDF troops watching the area through surveillance cameras.

“IDF monitors saw three suspects approaching the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip, as one of them was seen digging in the ground while carrying a suspicious bag,” the military said Thursday, without further clarifying.

“After he was spotted, IDF troops who were on the scene opened fire at the suspect,” the IDF said.

The military said it was aware of the Palestinian reports that the man had been hit by the gunfire and died, but would not comment further.

Gaza health officials identified the deceased as Mohammad Abd al-Karim Abu Ammar, 40, saying that he had been shot in the neck by live bullets.

According to Gaza media, Abu Ammar had approached the border while “bird-hunting” east of el-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

“Mohammad was attempting to safeguard his children and family’s daily bread by going to hunt birds, as per the season. But the merciless occupation, which we and the world know well, has no pity. The martyr Mohammad was innocent,” his cousin told Palestinian journalist Hassan Islayeh.

He was fatally wounded and pronounced dead a short time later in a nearby hospital, official Hamas media reported.

The incident came amid a relative lull in violence along the border, following a tense period earlier this month that saw repeated rocket attacks and the launching of balloon-borne incendiary devices from the Strip into Israel.

Two other Palestinians were killed on Thursday during confrontations with Israeli forces. Israel Police said Israa Khazimiyah, a 30-year-old woman from a town outside Jenin, tried to carry out a stabbing attack and was shot and killed in Jerusalem’s Old City. A member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, Alaa Zayud, 22, was killed in a predawn shootout with Israeli soldiers near Jenin.

Israeli police stand guard at the scene of stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, September 30, 2021 (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Gaza’s Hamas rulers publicly mourned the two deceased Palestinians, calling them “our people’s heroic martyrs.”

“We repeat that only armed resistance and comprehensive confrontations with the occupation can stop its aggression and expel its settlers from our occupied land,” the terror group said in a statement.

Judah Ari Gross and Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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