IDF troops - Tomer Appelbaum
IDF troops in the Jordan Valley Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Hundreds of Palestinian day-laborers who enter Israel without a permit have been facing a new threat recently - IDF soldiers at the separation fence are siccing dogs on them.

Since the beginning of last month, soldiers with dogs have been lying in ambush near a breach in the fence, between the Bedouin refugee village Ramadin and Kibbutz Shoval in the Negev.

Every night hundreds of West Bank Palestinians gather at this point to seek work the next day in the nearby Jewish and Bedouin communities.

Several laborers have been injured by dog attacks and some have been hospitalized for treatment. When the laborers tried to file complaints with the Kiryat Arba police, they were arrested on suspicion of tearing the fence and indictments have been filed against them.

Ala Hawarin, 22, of Dahariya, was injured in the arm and thigh when a dog attacked him as he was crossing the fence line. He went to Hebron for treatment, where the doctors told him two of his fingers would remain paralyzed. When he went to file a police complaint the following day he was arrested.

The B'Tselem human rights group has records of seven dog attacks from the last few weeks, all from the same area.

Earlier this week soldiers set dogs on dozens of Palestinians returning home at midday through the fence breach, following the closure Israel had imposed for Independence Day. A number of laborers were injured.

The IDF spokesman admitted, in response to Haaretz's query, that soldiers were using dogs on Palestinians "taking adequate precautions to prevent unnecessary injury."

"Every detailed complaint received by the military prosecution is examined and dealt with accordingly," he said.