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IDF fights with Gazans over bodies of suspected bomb-planters

Israeli troops fought with a group of young Palestinian men on Sunday morning over which side would retrieve the bodies of two terrorist operatives who were killed as they were apparently planting a bomb along the Gaza security fence earlier in the day.

Last week, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel was beginning to “hoard” the corpses of Palestinian terrorists as “bargaining chips” in an effort to secure the release of two Israeli men, and the remains of two fallen Israeli soldiers, who are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“We are hoarding the corpses of terrorists in order to put pressure on the other side,” Bennett said in an interview on the 103FM radio station.

In graphic video footage shared on social media, an Israeli armored bulldozer could be seen passing the security fence from Israel and entering the buffer zone around the Gaza Strip, traveling toward the corpses of the two men who were shot dead earlier Sunday morning.

The Israel Defense Forces said they were planting an improvised explosive device along the border east of the city of Khan Younis. The military released surveillance camera footage showing the men placing an object next to the fence and said they were members of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell that had planted at least two other explosive devices along the border in recent months.

The terror group’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, acknowledged that at least one of them was a member of the organization, identifying him as Muhammad al-Na’im, 27.

In the video footage of the aftermath of the incident, a group of Palestinian men can be seen pelting a heavy engineering vehicle with stones as it approaches, before a gunshot is heard and several of the men begin hopping away. Palestinian media reported that four people in total were injured by the Israeli gunfire. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry confirmed that at least two men were shot by Israeli troops and sustained injuries to their legs.

As the Palestinian men disperse, the IDF bulldozer — guarded by a Merkava tank — can be seen lifting up one of the mangled bodies and carrying it back toward Israel.

Header: A bomb that the military says was planted by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad along the Gaza border on February 23, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)