IDF thwarts third Palestinian infiltration from Gaza in 5 days

In third infiltration from the Gaza Strip in five days, Palestinian breaks through security fence, but is quickly caught by IDF soldiers.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF captured a Palestinian who crossed the border from northern Gaza into Israeli territory Wednesday. The man, who was unarmed, managed to get through the security fence near the community of Zikim, but was arrested on the nearby beach mere minutes after getting through, according to army sources.

This was the third infiltration in five days.

In the first incident of the week, four Gazans cut through the security fence on Saturday, ran a few meters to an array of IDF engineering equipment and tried setting it on fire, lightly damaging one vehicle used in the construction of the anti-terror tunnel underground barrier. Then they ran back into the Strip.

On Tuesday, in the most serious security incident of the week, three Palestinians armed with grenades and knives managed to get from Gaza to the edge of an army base 20 kilometers into Israel before being caught.

Representatives from both the civilian and military echelons stressed the gravity of the infiltration.

“There is no doubt this incident has cracked the trust between the army and the residents of the South,” said MK Haim Jelin, a former council head of the Eshkol region, which borders Gaza. “We need to learn the lessons and immediately correct the mistakes.”

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“This incident should not have happened,” agreed IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, adding that it “had the potential to become a terrorist attack.”

In fact, one of the questions being asked in the investigation is why the three did not try to hurt anyone, even though they had both the means and the opportunity to do so, including when they passed by Kibbutz Tze’elim.

The fact that the latest infiltrator was caught almost immediately is a hopeful sign that the army is on its toes after suffering through the embarrassment of the latest episodes. Another test of alertness may come this Friday, which is “Land Day,” a traditional time during which Hamas threatens Israelis. This year Hamas claims it will try to send thousands of Gazans to the border fence on Friday.

Manelis has already warned that the IDF is going to send reinforcements to the area, “and we will not let anyone cross the border so that Israelis will have a safe Passover Seder.” Security coordinators of Gaza-area communities have reportedly recommended residents who own weapons to remain armed throughout the week-long holiday, which begins Friday night.