A preliminary investigation revealed that the Palestinian was unarmed and therefore apparently had no intention of performing a terrorist attack.
- IDF: 'Attack tunnel' discovered near Gaza border
- Probe: Terrorist infiltrated Israel undetected
- Golan Heights: Syrian infiltrates Israel
The Palestinian, in his 20s, tried to infiltrate the kibbutz, located near the Gaza border at 7:35 am when he was spotted by Nir Damari, who was on his way to work.
Nir Damari near the fence (Photo: Roee Idan)
"He tried to go under it (the fence) like a mole," Damari said. "I caught him and told him in Arabic to sit still. I called another man in the area but the young man pushed him away and managed to escape."
"I chased him for 300 meters before catching up to him and pinning him to the ground. During those brief seconds I never considered whether he was armed, I have four children in the kindergarten."
According to Damari, the Palestinian tried to explain to him that he was guarding livestock. "He tried to say that someone sent him to watch the sheep and goats but it didn't sound right to me since there's no pasture in this area," he said.
"It seemed far-fetched so I told him to show me where he was sent to. Meanwhile, I called the kibbutz's security officer, and later IDF soldiers arrived and I handed him over."
The IDF said the man was unarmed, but Damari claims the man could have been preparing for a future attack.
"I'm originally from Gush Katif and I'm used to incidents such as this. In my opinion, he was sent to check whether the route can be infiltrated," he estimated.
Alon Shuster, head of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council and a Mefalsim resident, added: "The Gaza Strip can't be hermetically sealed, but nevertheless every infiltration of Israeli territory requires a thorough investigation. I understand this is what is being done by the security services."