In sign no Gaza escalation expected after shooting, IDF lets farmers work by border

Military had earlier said agricultural workers needed to stay clear after Israeli was shot by sniper from enclave, with 3 Palestinians said wounded in retaliatory strikes

Israeli soldiers near the site of where a civilian was injured by gunfire from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, December 29, 2021 (Flash90)
Israeli soldiers near the site of where a civilian was injured by gunfire from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, December 29, 2021 (Flash90)

Farming activities continued as normal near the Gaza border on Thursday morning, with the Israel Defense Forces lifting a warning it imposed in the wake of gunfire from the Strip that injured an Israeli civilian the previous day.

The announcement on Wednesday evening of the lifting of the ban on agricultural work near the enclave indicated that the military was not expecting an escalation of violence on the border after the shooting of the Israeli and the IDF’s retaliatory strikes, which reportedly injured three Gazans.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, the military had ordered farmers to stay away from land near the Gaza border.

The Ynet news site said in an unsourced report that the IDF believes that while the Gaza gunman may have been influenced by Hamas statements against Israel, “nothing has changed on the ground” and the terror group was still not currently seeking an escalation of the conflict.

The injured Israeli was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon with light injuries to his leg. According to the hospital, the 33-year-old was struck by shrapnel as he worked on an ATV near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

The injured man is a worker for a civilian firm hired by the Defense Ministry for maintenance of the recently completed security barrier separating Israel and the Palestinian enclave.

After the shooting, the IDF said tanks targeted several Hamas outposts in northern Gaza. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said three Palestinians were wounded.

The incident came during a relatively quiet time and amid intense efforts to reach a stable, long-term ceasefire following a major escalation of violence in May.

It also came a day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Defense Minister Benny Gantz in the latter’s home in the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin for his first talks with a senior Israeli official inside Israel in over a decade.

Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza and openly seeks Israel’s destruction, lambasted Abbas over the meeting and called it a “stab in the back.”

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