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Israeli army enters Gaza, opens fire on Palestinian farmers amid search for tunnels

Aug. 3, 2017 1:33 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2017 4:29 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Israeli army vehicles entered lands east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Israeli authorities have resumed excavations at the border area in search of tunnels from the besieged enclave.

Palestinian security sources said that five Israeli army vehicles entered tens of meters inside the Gaza Strip, near the town of Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis. The sources also confirmed that the vehicles had leveled agricultural lands and opened fire at Palestinian farmers, forcing them to flee their lands.

Meanwhile, local sources told Ma’an on Wednesday that the Israeli army had brought eight cranes and heavy excavation equipment to the border line between Israel and Khuzaa. The sources said that the Israeli army was conducting digging operations in the area in order to uncover alleged “Hamas tunnels" near the border regions.

An Israeli army told Ma’an she would look into reports.
Photo of excavation equipment being used by Israeli forces near border with Gaza in search for alleged tunnels

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone," which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.

The Israeli army also regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the buffer zone, as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

The practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sector of the blockaded coastal enclave.

Meanwhile, although Hamas has used tunnel networks as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly demanded necessities for Gazans -- who have been trapped under an Israeli siege for a decade -- including food, medicine, and much-needed infrastructure materials.

However, Israeli authorities have accused Hamas of using their tunnels to plan attacks against the Israeli state.
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