One Week After Storm, Parts of Gaza Fence Still Down
One week after an historic snow- and rainstorm hit Israel, parts of the security fence between Israel and Gaza are still down, Walla! reports Tuesday.
Historic flooding pelted Gaza during the storm, causing water streams and the evacuation of up to 5,000 residents of the Hamas-controlled terror state. The torrential rains also tore holes through the fence lining the Gaza-Israel border.
However, IDF soldiers from the Golani Brigade and armored corps told the daily that repairs have been slow - or not undertaken at all - on the border fence since the storm hit.
The result: a major security risk - not only to Israeli citizens, but to the IDF soldiers themselves.
The border has been completely ripped apart in some places, soldiers say. In addition, the Erez crossing was closed during the worst of the flooding, causing concrete blocks to be dislodged from walls lining the entry points and blocking crucial access roads to IDF military vehicles.
An IDF spokesman denied the claims, insisting that "damaged portions [of the fence] have been fixed and secured."
IDF soldiers paint a different picture. "Whenever there's a hole in the security fence, the guards for that section are overwhelmed," one Golani soldier stated. "The hole has to be guarded 24 hours per day" to make sure terrorists or infiltrators don't make their way into Israel, according to the soldier.
One armored corps soldier added, "the holes [in the fence] are secured, with observation set up at all time. However, even a child can tell you that a security breach like that is an invitation for a thief."
"More and more Palestinians have been reaching the security fence," and trying to break through, the soldier indicated. "The holes need to be closed quickly before they gain access to the Israeli villages [on the other side]."
Terror attacks have increased in the border region since the storm. On Saturday, the IDF nabbed a terrorist attempting to place explosives near the border fence.
It was the second terror attack in 2 days; Friday, a number of clashes broke out along the fence, including a mortar shell attack and several rock-throwing incidents, according to AFP.
The Israeli government has faced mounting criticism since the storm, which saw at least 29,000 homes without power - many for several days. A Knesset review slammed the inefficiency of government organizations responding to the crisis; however, the border issue was noticeably absent from the agenda.