IDF soldiers dismantled an explosive device hidden in the vicinity of the security fence on the northern border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on March 18, an army spokesman said. Further details with respect to the device were not made public by the IDF.
On March 15, security forces apprehended a Palestinian man who crossed the border from Gaza into Israel. Security forces found that the man was carrying a knife, although his motives for crossing out of the Hamas-controlled coastal strip were not known.
Last week, residents of kibbutz Netiv Ha’Asara near the Gaza Strip claimed that Hamas workers were digging attack tunnels before the eyes of IDF soldiers stationed on the border and that the military was doing nothing to stop them.
Hamas training exercises and rocket launches out to sea are also regular occurrences in the northern Gaza Strip, opposite Netiv Ha’Asara.
During last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, the IDF destroyed dozens of tunnels burrowed beneath the border which Palestinian terror groups used to launch attacks at Israeli towns and military installations. Recent reports have indicated that Gaza groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have begun rebuilding tunnels and rearming.
In January, six months after the summer war with Hamas, the IDF began pulling troops out of communities near the Gaza Strip, including Netiv Ha’Asara, leaving local residents to organize their own guard duty and security responsibilities. Like other communities near the Palestinian enclave, Netiv Ha’Asara was targeted in the summer conflict by Hamas mortar fire and an attempted amphibious assault.
The IDF said in response to the reports that it was closely monitoring everything occurring in the Gaza Strip, and that soldiers stationed along the border provide security for residents of the south.