Fight Over Militant’s Body Leads To Israeli Airstrike Against Jihad In Gaza

(Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Olivia Rondeau Contributor
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A Palestinian militant was killed while attempting to plant a bomb on the Gaza-Israel border, launching a tug-of-war over the body that escalated into airstrikes late Sunday.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) confirmed that two Palestinians were seen planting the explosive, and one was killed on Twitter on Sunday evening. They claimed that their “soldiers opened fire at the terrorists.” According to them, this was the third time that Jihad militants had attempted to bomb Israel’s border fence.

Gaza’s health ministry said that two men with serious wounds were taken to Khan Yunis’s European Hospital for treatment. One died, later identified by the Islamic Jihad as Muhammad al-Naem, 27, a soldier in the Khan Yunis battalion of their Al Quds military wing, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The real trouble came when the IDF began to extract the terrorist’s body.

“Following the successful thwarting of the attack near the Gaza Strip fence earlier this morning, an IDF [Israel Defence Forces] bulldozer extracted the body of one of the attackers,” said an IDF military spokeswoman to AFP.

A Palestinian bystander video from the scene emerged on social media showing an armored bulldozer approaching the body as young, apparently unarmed men, were trying to collect it. The sound of gunfire is heard, the men run away, and the bulldozer struggles to collect the body. The video shows the lifeless man being dragged precariously away as the bulldozer barely had a hold on him.

The Gaza health ministry has said that two civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire during the incident.

Israel’s use of heavy machinery to retrieve the militant’s body earlier in the day drew harsh criticism even from within the nation. Defense Minister Naftali Bennett defended the IDF’s seizure of the body, firing back at those who disagreed with the army’s methods. Translated from Hebrew, his statement reads “Tired of the left’s vicious criticism of the “inhumanity” used by the bulldozer to bring us the body of a terrorist who tried to murder (!) Israelis.”

“Hamas holds the bodies of Hadar and Oron,” he wrote referring to the bodies of the two Israeli soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, that Hamas refuses to return to Israel. “I back up the army that killed the terrorists and collected the body. That is how it should be done. Against terrorists we will act with force.”

In retaliation Sunday night, around 30 rockets and mortar shells were fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. Several were eradicated by the Israel’s state-of-the-art Iron Dome rocket-defense system while others dropped into clearings. One of several rockets fired from Gaza on Monday landed in an empty kindergarten. There were no reported injuries, according to The Guardian.

The IDF has said they have bombed sites across Gaza to defend themselves from the Islamic Jihad. According to a military statement, targets included underground bunkers, rocket manufacturing compounds, and an anti-tank missile training site. Four people in Gaza were wounded in the retaliation attack.