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Israel sprays crop-killing pesticides on Gaza farmland

Dec. 23, 2015 8:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 23, 2015 8:54 P.M.)
Palestinians harvest a field of cucumbers on the outskirts of Gaza City. (AFP/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli planes reportedly sprayed agricultural crops along the Gaza border on Wednesday with pesticides that have been killing off crops for the third day in a row, the general manager of the plant protection department at the Gaza-based Ministry of Agriculture told Ma'an.

Wael Thabet said that “several farmers informed the ministry that Israeli planes sprayed their lands with pesticides around the al-Qarrara area in eastern Khan Younis and the Wadi al-Salqa area in east central Gaza which damaged a large number of crops.”

Saleh al-Najjar, a farmer from al-Qarrara, said he lost some 30 dunums (7.4 acres) of spinach and pea crops due to the spraying, which has taken place from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. during the past three days.

Another farmer, Wael al-Shami, said he lost crops of parsley and beans which were planted near al-Qarrara in eastern Khan Younis.

Thabet alleged that Israeli forces deliberately spray pesticides periodically on agricultural lands near the Gaza-Israeli border to destroy crops.

Thabet added that the Red Cross made a trip to observe the damaged lands and reportedly estimated that 1500 dunams (371 acres) of land in central Gaza and 200 dunams (50 acres) of land in eastern Khan Younis were damaged according to initial reports.

Thabet demanded that the Red Cross contact Israel and call for it to stop its violations against farmers in Gaza.

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