IDF to Continue Guarding Gaza Belt - For Now

Decision to pull Gaza Belt patrols postponed until Sunday, while the security establishment re-evaluates the risks.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 4:04 PM

IDF patrol along Gaza border
IDF patrol along Gaza border
Flash 90

The IDF has frozen a directive to pull military patrols from communities along the Gaza border, Channel 10 reports Wednesday - at least, until Sunday. 

Soldiers guarding the Jewish communities most at risk from Hamas infiltration attempts or rocket fire will remain at their posts until then, the news agency said, and Thursday - the original date for the pullout - will instead be used to assessed whether the patrols are to be withdrawn at all.

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.

The IDF pullout follows an ill-timed measure by the IDF and Defense Ministry earlier this year to cut guard posts around the same communities just months before Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. 

Residents also complained during last winter's snowstorm that maintenance on the fence was low-priority, further leaving communities at risk. 

An advanced observation system was initially instituted earlier this year, after there were multiple infiltrations into Israel through the border within the space of a week. 

But efforts to strengthen the fence have been redoubled after an attack on the IDF last week, which critically wounded a Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion as he took off his coat while protecting workers doing maintenance on the security barrier. 

Since then, the IDF has erected an observation point and used advanced technological means to locate suspicious movements from Gaza territory, it said and because they did not identify the shooter, they will also examine the conduct of those at the scene, and whether or not there were gaps in the system.