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Locals: Bulldozers level Gaza land under drone surveillance for 7th day

April 12, 2016 9:53 A.M. (Updated: April 12, 2016 4:54 P.M.)
An Israeli D9 bulldozer rolls along the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. (AFP/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers under the surveillance of Israeli military drones razed Palestinian lands near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday for the seventh day in a row, locals said.

Locals told Ma’an that the bulldozers crossed through the borderline with Israel into al-Nahda neighborhood of eastern Rafah as military drones flew overhead.

Several bulldozers also crossed from the Kisufim military site into al-Qarrara in northeastern Khan Yunis and leveled land in the area, witnesses said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.

Israeli military forces enter the blockaded Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis, often to the detriment of Palestinian locals who work near the border on both land and sea sides.

While the army typically cites “routine activity” in the Israeli-enforced “buffer zone” along the border with Israel and off of Gaza’s coast, forces often open fire on Palestinian farmers and fishermen working near the zone.

A 13-year-old Palestinian child was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Monday while herding cattle in Hujr al-Dik area in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, according to witnesses.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported at least 30 incidents of Israeli military forces opening fire in the "buffer zone" in the first week of April alone, in two cases injuring Palestinians were were as far as 350 meters away from the border.

The Israeli army says the use of live fire is necessary to deter potential "security threats." However, the practice has destroyed much of both the agricultural and fishing sectors of the impoverished coastal enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade for nearly a decade.
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