Gaza in­fil­tra­tor sets fire to green­house

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By ANNA AHRONHEIM

A Pales­tinian who suc­ceeded to in­fil­trate into Is­rael from north­ern Gaza is sus­pected of set­ting alight a green­house in the south­ern com­mu­nity of Ne­tiv Ha’asara in the Hof Ashkelon Re­gional Coun­cil on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the mil­i­tary, the sus­pect had been iden­ti­fied be­fore cross­ing into Is­rael, and troops were dis­patched to the area fol­low­ing his in­fil­tra­tion.

The IDF at first said that fire was sus­pected of hav­ing bro­ken out in the green­house as a re­sult of a flash bomb that troops had fired while search­ing for the sus­pect. But fol­low­ing a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent, the mil­i­tary con­cluded that the in­fil­tra­tor was the one who set the fire.

Fire­fight­ing teams were called to the scene to ex­tin­guish the flames. There were no ca­su­al­ties.

The un­armed sus­pect was ar­rested by IDF troops about a kilo­me­ter from the com­mu­nity and trans­ferred to Shin Bet (Is­rael Se­cu­rity Agency) for fur­ther ques­tion­ing, the mil­i­tary said.

“The in­ci­dent is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the nec­es­sary lessons will be im­ple­mented,” read the state­ment re­leased by the IDF Spokesper­son’s Unit, adding that “IDF troops will con­tinue to act to pro­tect the com­mu­ni­ties in the area.”

Udi Dreilich, the owner of the green­house that was burned down, was quoted by Is­rael’s Walla! News as say­ing that the dam­age was es­ti­mated to be in the hun­dreds of thou­sands of shekels and that he was wor­ried how the Gazan man­aged to in­fil­trate into Is­rael and get close to res­i­den­tial homes.

“All my equip­ment was in the green­house, the seeds for the crops are gone, and all the nets and ny­lon are burnt. I looked [at the dam­age] and it hurt my heart; it’s years of work,” he was quoted as say­ing. “The feel­ing that he man­aged to break through the fence and reach us is not good – it raises con­cerns. Our prob­lem is that if some­one man­aged to break through the fence, he could come to the com­mu­nity and carry out an at­tack. An hour ear­lier my work­ers were there and it could have end dif­fer­ently.”

Ac­cord­ing to KAN pub­lic broad­caster, the man had in­fil­trated into Is­rael many times be­fore.

With news of the in­fil­tra­tion, res­i­dents of Ne­tiv Ha’asara ex­pressed con­cerns about the in­ci­dent. In the morn­ing, North­ern Bri­gade com­man­der of

the South­ern Com­mand Col. Avi Rosen­feld met with res­i­dents to ex­press the IDF’s com­mit­ment to se­cur­ing the area.

“We are here, and we will learn what is needed from the in­ci­dent,” he said.

With the an­nounce­ment of the Pales­tinian in­fil­tra­tion into the moshav, they ex­pressed con­cern about the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of events. “The feel­ings are very dif­fi­cult,” said Re­vi­tal Fuld, who lives in the moshav. “We are very afraid – es­pe­cially be­cause it’s al­ready been done reg­u­larly, our week­ends are tough, the kids do not stop ask­ing ques­tions and we have to find an­swers we do not have.”

Ear­lier on Fri­day, a Pales­tinian was killed by an Is­raeli sol­dier af­ter the IDF said that the man threw an ex­plo­sive charge at IDF forces guard­ing the bor­der fence and into Is­rael. The Gaza Health Min­istry said that 28-year-old Rami Qamhan was crit­i­cally wounded af­ter be­ing shot in the neck east of Khan Yu­nis dur­ing protests along the Gaza se­cu­rity fence.

Two oth­ers were ar­rested for cutting the fence and en­ter­ing Is­rael.

An­other 37 Gazans were in­jured by IDF fire dur­ing the protests, which saw the par­tic­i­pa­tion of some 12,000 Pales­tini­ans.

The vi­o­lent ri­ots along the Gaza se­cu­rity fence, which be­gan in March, have led to 221 Pales­tini­ans be­ing killed, ac­cord­ing to Pales­tinian Health Min­istry fig­ures. It has also led to fears of an­other mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion against Ha­mas to re­store the quiet seen in the four years since the end of Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.

Dur­ing the protests on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Qatar rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Gaza Mo­hammed Al-Emadi’s con­voy was pelted with stones by a group of Pales­tini­ans while he was vis­it­ing one of the “March of Re­turn” cam­paign protest sites on the Gaza bor­der. No one was hurt in the in­ci­dent.

The in­ci­dent came af­ter $15 mil­lion in cash was trans­ferred to Ha­mas to pay the salaries of civil ser­vants. The money, given by Qatar, was trans­ferred in three suit­cases in a heav­ily guarded ve­hi­cle in the block­aded coastal en­clave on Thurs­day.

Emadi said that Doha would con­tinue trans­fer­ring $15 mil­lion a month for salaries and stipends for needy fam­i­lies over the next six months, and an­other $10 mil­lion would be al­lo­cated to­ward elec­tric­ity.

Dur­ing Fri­day’s protests, Ha­mas chief Yahya Sin­war de­nied re­ports that the group had reached any agree­ments with Is­rael, and said that any­one who says that “there is a deal or un­der­stand­ings with the oc­cu­pa­tion is not telling the truth.”

Nev­er­the­less, he said that Ha­mas is work­ing with Egypt, Qatar and the United Na­tions “in or­der to lift the block­ade on Gaza.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port on Satur­day in the Le­banese news­pa­per Al Akhbar, Qatar and Is­rael have also agreed to a sea pas­sage be­tween Cyprus and the Gaza Strip, which would be mon­i­tored by in­ter­na­tional forces un­der Is­raeli se­cu­rity su­per­vi­sion.

Is­rael has re­port­edly re­quested to have phys­i­cal pres­ence at the sea route, while Ha­mas has re­quested sur­veil­lance by cam­eras and in­ter­na­tion

al in­spec­tors, sim­i­lar to •


A GREEN­HOUSE in the south­ern com­mu­nity of Ne­tiv Ha’asara is to­tally de­stroyed af­ter it was set on fire by a Pales­tinian who in­fil­trated Is­rael from the Gaza Strip on Fri­day.

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