Gaza Terrorist Who Snuck Into Israel Seven Times Indicted on Arson Charges

kite fire
A fire burns in scrubland on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, near Kibbutz Or Haner. (Reuters/Amir Cohen, File)

Prosecutors on Monday handed down an indictment against a Gaza Arab who crossed into Israel and set fire to hothouses in the border community of Netiv Ha’asara. The incident took place about two weeks ago. The terrorist hid in one of the hothouses on the moshav and set it on fire. He was later arrested. In a statement, the IDF said that the terrorist was observed before he crossed the fence, and he was followed as he moved toward the moshav.

Prosecutors said that this was the seventh time since 2012 that the same terrorist attempted to enter Israel by breaking through the border fence. In each instance, he was questioned and released back to Gaza. A Channel 20 report quoted a senior IDF official as saying that “there is no doubt that we have a problem. I can only imagine what would have happened had this terrorist been armed with a hand grenade.”

Netiv Ha’asara suffered hundreds of thousands of shekels of damage as a result of the attack. Under questioning, the terrorist said that he had been sent to set the hothouses on fire by Salafist Islamic groups in Gaza, as a way of assisting Hamas in its war against Israel. He was charged with seven counts of infiltration into Israel, arson, and providing false information to security authorities. Prosecutors asked the court to extend the terrorist’s remand until the end of proceedings against him.

IDF soldiers overnight Sunday seized weapons that were to be used in terror attacks. Soldiers, working with police, discovered weapons in Arab villages in the Chevron region. In a statement, the army said that such weapons were used in terror attacks as well as for criminal activity, and that security forces were determined to seize all weapons that were being held illegally by all people, in order to better protect all Israelis and residents of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, who are also under threat by terrorists and criminals.

Overnight Sunday, security officials said they arrested 15 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.

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