Last updated: 19 January, 2012

Israel detains 3 Gaza infiltrators

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians overnight as they tried to enter Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

“Late last night, three men approached the border fence from southern Gaza to infiltrate into Israel. They were picked up by troops immediately after they crossed,” a military spokesman said.

“We found a fragmentation grenade on one of the men. They were detained and held for questioning.”

A Palestinian security source claimed the incident involved only two men, and said they were detained overnight inside Gaza by Israeli special forces.

The official, who spoke on condition on anonymity, said the Israeli forces “crept into the Rafah area and took two citizens to an unknown destination and there is no information on what happened to them.”

And an eyewitness told AFP that special forces had “arrested two youths, Akram and Ismail al-Sufi, near their house near the border area east of Rafah.”

Also Thursday, the army said a rocket fired from Gaza hit the southern Eshkol region, causing no damage or injuries.

The skies over Gaza have remained largely calm since the beginning of the year, with the army counting just six rockets fired into southern Israel up until Thursday.

On Wednesday, an Israeli air raid in northern Gaza killed two Palestinians and wounded a third.

The Israeli military said the raid targeted a group of men who were laying explosive devices along Gaza’s border fence with Israel, but Palestinian officials said the men were laying traps for birds in the border area.