IDF to Pull Forces from Some Gaza Belt Communities

IDF to pull out security forces from Israeli communities that are not located near the security fence with Gaza.

Kobi Finkler and Elad Benari ,

Gaza Belt area
Gaza Belt area
Flash 90

The IDF will on Thursday pull out its security forces from Israeli communities that are not located near the security fence with Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced on Monday evening. 

The move was made after evaluating the security situation, with the understanding that the IDF provides optimal security to the communities in the Gaza Belt, in coordination with the heads of the communities, the statement said.

“IDF forces are deployed in the area and are prepared for any scenario,” stressed the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Responding to the decision, the heads of the local communities in the Gaza Belt called for funding to be found that would allow the IDF to expand the border fence so that it provides better protection.

"We demand that the Defense Ministry and the Prime Minister immediately fund the project to build a fence throughout the Gaza Belt - from the sea to Kerem Shalom," they said.

Last week, the IDF deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries in Israel's south.

The two batteries were placed in the Be'er Sheva region and Netivot region, in a move that came a day after a Bedouin IDF soldier was critically wounded by terrorist sniper fire from southern Gaza.

Following the sniper attack which breached the truce ending last summer's Operation Protective Edge, a heavy exchange of fire broke out with the IDF reportedly firing tank shells and attacking with IAF jets.

That strong response successfully killed Tayseer al-Ismary (33), a terrorist leader and head of the surveillance unit in Hamas's "armed wing" Al-Qassam Brigades.

Hamas blamed Israel and claimed it was not responsible for the attack, despite having total rule of Gaza.

Its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, stated on Friday that Hamas remains committed to the agreements reached in Cairo at the end of Operation Protective Edge and will continue to meet them, as long as Israel continues to do so as well.

Speaking in an interview with Hamas’s television channel, Haniyeh added that the Egyptians have intervened to maintain quiet in Gaza and to prevent a deterioration in the region.