Israeli minister defends bulldozer being used to scoop Palestinian’s body

Israel’s defence minister has defended the use of a military bulldozer to scoop up the body of a Palestinian man as others tried to recover him.
The incident occurred on Sunday morning and precipitated an increase in violence between the two sides.

Rockets from Gaza have landed in southern Israel, and there have been Israeli airstrikes in Gaza as well as on Islamic Jihad militant targets in neighbouring Syria.

Image: Israeli targeted Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip with its airstrike
Footage filmed at the fence separating Gaza from Israel shows a military bulldozer making several attempts with its bucket to scoop up the body of 27-year-old Mohammed al Naim.
He had just been shot dead by Israeli soldiers for attempting to plant explosives at the fence.


In a tweet, defence minister Naftali Bennett said: “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.”

Referring to the remains of two Israeli soldiers who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war and whose remains are held in Gaza, he said: “Bleeding hearts, *You* are not human! Hamas holds the bodies of Hadar and Oron.”

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His tweet concluded: “I back the [soldiers] that killed the terrorist and collected the body. This is how it should be done and this is how it will be done.”
The dead man was named by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group as one of its fighters in Gaza.
According to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), he and one other militant had been trying to plant an improvised explosive device (IED) at the security fence with Israel.
An initial statement from the IDF said: “A short while ago, IDF troops spotted two terrorists approaching the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip and placing an explosive device adjacent to it.
“The troops opened fire towards them. A hit was identified.”
The IDF then released grainy footage showing two people placing something at the separation fence and a still image showing the device said to have been found.

Footage filmed by local media shows an Israeli military bulldozer approaching the area of land where the two shot men lay.
Palestinians can be seen running towards the bulldozer in an attempt to retrieve the men, but they were met by Israeli gunfire.
One of the men is successfully recovered by Palestinians and carried away, but behind, the bulldozer makes several attempts to scoop up the other body into its bucket.
Eventually the bulldozer drives away, past an Israeli tank, with the body of Mohammed al Naim dangling from its bucket.
By Sunday evening, more than 20 rockets had been fired from Islamic Jihad positions inside Gaza at southern Israel.
The small unguided rockets caused damage to houses and vehicles and there are reports of at least one injury – a woman in the Israeli town of Sederot just next to Gaza is receiving treatment.
Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile and rocket defence system.

In response, Israeli jets struck dozens of Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza and in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Six people are reported to have been killed in the Damascus strike.
An Israeli military statement, released overnight, said: “Approximately an hour ago, dozens of Islamic Jihad terror targets were struck in the Gaza Strip.
“In Rafah, the targets struck were underground infrastructures as well as compounds used to store raw material used for manufacturing of rockets.”
The statement continued: “In addition, in Khan Yunis, the headquarters of the Islamic Jihad’s Khan Yunis Brigade, which includes a training compound for anti-tank missile use, as well as military equipment used by the terror organisation’s naval commando force.
“In Beit Lahia, a military training compound of the Islamic Jihad was targeted as well.”
On the Syrian airstrike, the statement said: “In the Adeliyah region, outside of Damascus, an Islamic Jihad compound was struck, used as a hub of Islamic Jihad’s activity in Syria.
“In the compound, the Islamic Jihad conducts research and development of weapons, both by adapting them to manufacturing in the Gaza Strip as well as for local manufacturing in Syria.”
It concluded: “The IDF will respond to any terror acts of the Islamic Jihad that endanger Israeli civilians and harm its sovereignty.”

Image: Israeli targeted Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip with its airstrike
While Israeli strikes inside Syria are common, they are rarely acknowledged by Israel.
Over the past year, Israeli jets are believed to have been responsible for dozens of airstrikes against Iranian-linked targets inside Syria in an attempt to thwart efforts by Iran to arm its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, with guided missile systems for attacks on Israel.
The bulldozer incident has been widely criticised, including by members of the Israeli parliament.
“Stealing a body, abusing it with a bulldozer, and still claiming to the most moral army I think the world,” wrote Knesset member Aida Touma-Silman on Twitter.
“Since [Defence Minister] Bennett took up his role, hoarding bodies to bargain with is Israel’s declared policy.”

Source : Sky News