Palestinian media: IDF bulldozers operating inside southern Gaza
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Palestinian media: IDF bulldozers operating inside southern Gaza

Ma’an News Agency says 4 vehicles leveling ground near border fence while drones keep watch overhead

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

Illustrative. An Israeli D9 bulldozer rolls along the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip following Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on July 10, 2014. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Illustrative. An Israeli D9 bulldozer rolls along the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip following Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on July 10, 2014. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Palestinian media said Thursday that IDF bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip and carried out work near the border fence.

The Ma’an News Agency, citing eyewitnesses, reported that four bulldozers moved several meters into the southern Gaza Strip in an area east of the city of Rafah and began leveling ground near the border.

Drones were seen flying overhead as the IDF earth-movers worked.

According to Ma’an, it was the latest in over half a dozen similar incursions over the past ten days.

Hours later the Code Red missile warning system sounded in the area of Nahal Oz in the south of the country close to Gaza.

There were no injuries or damage reported and security forces were unable to locate the landing point of the projectiles, suggesting it was either a false alarm or that the munitions fell short and hit inside the Palestinian enclave.

Israel has said in the past that it holds the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist group, which rules the Strip, responsible for any attacks initiated from within the Palestinian coastal enclave.

A senior IDF officer told reporters Thursday that Hamas is amassing fighters and materiel at a “surprisingly” quick pace in Gaza but the terror group does not appear to be prepared for renewed direct conflict with Israel in the near future.

He stressed the terrorist organization would not again drag Israel into a war, and that any future conflict would be one undertaken at the initiative of the Jewish state.

His comments came a day after a senior Defense Ministry official indicated there is no expectation of an increase in violence with Hamas.

“The good news is that our deterrence is still working,” said Amos Gilad, director of the ministry’s Political-Military Affairs Bureau, at a conference on the beleaguered coastal strip’s financial woes.

“They say that there will be a ‘hot’ summer. That’ll only be because of the high temperatures,” he continued, alluding to the tendency for regional conflicts to take place in warmer summer months.

“Economics alone can’t solve [Gaza’s problems]. Economics are not the fundamental solution,” Gilad said in his address.

So long as Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, he added, there will not be peace there.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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