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Israeli forces penetrate half kilometer into Gaza; burn fields

July 17, 2009 4:29 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2009 10:39 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma’an - Israeli forces made their deepest incursion into the Gaza Strip in months near Beit Hanoun, penetrating 500 meters past the buffer zone to burn 150 dunums of land.

The agricultural field of wheat and barley crops belonging to the Shabat family was destroyed after an Israeli militarized vehicle left the Erez District Coordination Office (DCO) and drove into the Strip, stopping only to set the land on fire. Dry weather meant the crops burned quickly, consuming the much needed grains.

The incident is a string in what farmers call persistent attempts by Israeli soldiers to prevent the harvesting of crops outside the Israeli-patrolled buffer zone near the Gaza border fence. Locals reported almost daily patrols of military jeeps on the outskirts of the town.

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