Israeli forces enter border area in southern Gaza
Published Thursday 01/05/2014 (updated) 04/05/2014 11:38
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, witnesses told Ma'an.
Locals said that Israeli military forces escorted eight bulldozers as they leveled Palestinian land east of Khan Younis in Khuzaah.
Israeli forces fired smoke bombs during the operation, witnesses added.
An Israeli army spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off-limits to Palestinians.
The "security buffer zone" extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.
According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.