Two more Palestinians infiltrated Israel from the northern Gaza Strip overnight between Wednesday and Thursday between Beit Lahiya and Bet Hanun armed with a knife and two wire cutters. They were arrested by IDF troops detained for questioning.
This incident was the fourth incident this week along the Gaza border. Wednesday a Palestinian was arrested on the Zikim beach, south of Ashkelon, after crossed the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The previous day, three Palestinians armed with knives and grenades were apprehended near Kibbutz Tze’elim, some 20 kilometers east of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, after an hours-long search that began when IDF trackers found footprints along the border fence.
Last weekend, Iron Dome missile defense batteries fired some 20 rockets Sunday evening after automatic gunfire inside the Strip was mistaken by the system’s radar for rocket fire. On Saturday night, four Gazans crossed into Israel and vandalized mechanical equipment used by construction teams working on an underground anti-tunnel obstacle along the border. The four managed to make their way back into Gaza before IDF forces arrived.
The string of infiltrations also comes ahead of a planned season of planned demonstrations on the Gaza side of the border. Friday, Hamas has called on Gazans to set up tent cities along the Israeli border to mark Land Day, a 1976 protest by Israeli Arabs against land confiscations in the Galilee in which six people were killed. Palestinian groups in Gaza as well as in Judea and Samaria say the Land Day demonstrations will usher in six weeks of protests leading up to May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding on the Gregorian calendar.
Since 1998 Palestinians have marked May 15 as “Nakba Day,” the Palestinian term for Israel’s independence.
Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said the army has prepared for the protests by bolstering troop deployments in the southern region despite the Passover holiday, which also begins Friday. He said that more than 100 snipers will be deployed with order to use live fire to prevent attempts to violate Israel’s sovereignty.
“If the Palestinians think (that thousands of people will) march (on the fence) and make it into our territory, they’ve made a big mistake,” Eisenkot told the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom daily.