IDF said to let Gaza border towns’ security squads operate unarmed for past year

The civilian security squads in towns between four and seven kilometers of the Gaza border have reportedly been operating unarmed for the past year after the IDF collected volunteers personal weapons and has yet to return them.

In response to a spate of weapon robberies, the stand-by squads were told by area IDF officers that their firearms would be stored in centralized safes and that they would be able to access them in cases of emergency. However, a year has gone by and the IDF has yet to provide safes and locks for storing the weapons, according to a Monday Channel 12 report.

The reality became particularly worrisome to the civilian security squads along the Gaza border in recent days as they’ve endured the latest uptick in violence, in the form of nightly rocket fire as well as the launching of incendiary balloons from the Hamas-run coastal enclave that has torched Israeli fields on the other side of the security fence. The security squads fear they’ll be left with no protection in the case of an infiltration attempt from Gaza.

A security source blasted the army’s conduct as “neglectful” in a remark leaked to Channel 12 and urged the IDF to immediately arm the Gaza border towns’ security squads.

Reached out for comment on the report, the IDF said in a statement that the safes for the security squads’ weapons have been purchased and that they will be set up in the very near future.

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