Israeli Arab Spotted Jumping Border Fence Into Gaza Strip, Israeli Army Says

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An archive photo from 2012 shows Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence.
An archive photo from 2012 shows Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence. Credit: Reuters

An Israeli Arab was spotted crossing into the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said Tuesday. According to the military, the man, identified as an Israeli Bedouin, left Israel and jumped the fence into the Palestinian enclave alone.

Israeli intelligence services received information identifying the man relatively quickly, though his name is barred from publication. The current assessment is that the Bedouin is mentally unstable. His family, which lives in southern Israel, have been informed.

According to an IDF officer, when someone crosses the border they will most likely be apprehended by people on the other side, and the assumption is that is what happened in the case of the Bedouin. However, there is no clear sign from Hamas, the Strip's de facto  ruler, that they have him.

The incident is currently under investigation, but an initial assessment said he crossed the border near the Bsor Stream region, adjacent to the central part of Gaza. He is the third Israeli currently missing in the Strip.

Another Bedouin, Hisham al-Sayed, is also said to be in Gaza. Al-Sayed crossed into Gaza in April, 2015. His father said that Al-Sayed had been treated by a psychiatrist for 10 years and that he had crossed into Gaza on two previous occasions, but that Hamas had handed him back to Israel in both of those cases.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli Avera Mengistu has been missing since September 2014, when he left his home in southern Israel and crossed into the Gaza Strip, apparently of his own volition. His unusual case was kept secret from the Israeli public for nearly 10 months. Hamas, however, said Mengistu crossed the border in uniform and denies Israel's claims that he is mentally unstable.

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