IDF responds to Deif's threats by reinforcing troops around Gaza, closing beaches, restricting access by farmers, stopping trains 

Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The IDF is not taking any chances. In light of the rioting in Jerusalem, the threat by Mohammed Deif and the approaching date of the elections in the Palestinian Authority, the IDF decided to build up its forces and restrict access by farmers to the border area. There is concern over snipers. 

"In light of the assessment of the situation, the IDF decided to block areas and roads adjacent to the border fence in the Gaza Strip. The areas and roads that will be blocked are all of the agricultural access roads west of route 232," an announcement by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. "In addition, it was decided to close the Zikim beach to visitors. It was also decided to stop the movement of trains between Ashkelon and Beersheva (apparently due to concern over antitank fire)."  

The IDF's decision came after a number of days in which a number of rockets were launched towards towns in the Gaza border area, and IDF tanks attacked Hamas positions. The IDF gives the impression that it is trying to avoid worsening the situation as much as possible so that the violence in Jerusalem does not spread to the southern part of the country.   

However, there is concern in the IDF that Hamas, or other groups in Gaza, will fan the flames      in the coming days toward the end of the month. Also, there is concern that if there will be Palestinian fatalities in Jerusalem, Hamas will want to "get even" via an attack on an Israeli citizen in the border area.   

The IDF also said that following an assessment of the situation, the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, decided to postpone the IDF's "Chariots of Fire" exercise for the next day, and instructed the IDF to focus all of its efforts on preparations and readiness for scenarios of escalation.   

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