Israeli drills burn corn field, locals say

10:00 May 1 2013 Jalbun

JENIN (Ma'an) -- Approximately 35 dunums of planted corn fields were destroyed during an Israeli army drill on Wednesday in the Jalboun village east of Jenin, the owner said.

Khalil Abu Erreh told Ma'an that troops were training on his land and used gas bombs, setting fire to the crops.

Local fire services tried to contain the blaze but could not salvage the land, he said, adding that the crops were his sole livelihood.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

On Monday evening, the local council of the Bedouin community that was evicted from their lands and tents said the Israeli military was still performing training exercises by Monday evening.

The exercises include jet fighters, tanks, and other military vehicles.

The council added that people were prevented from reaching and extinguishing fires.

At the time, the Israeli army said the exercises were due to "regional changes."

At 10 a.m. on Monday, an army statement said, Israeli forces "commenced a military exercise in northern Israel. This exercise ended today" at 5 p.m., the army said.

It added: "Due to regional changes, the IDF constantly reassess force deployment and training schedules. The IDF regularly trains soldiers and commanders in order to provide the capabilities to protect the state of Israel and its residents. This exercise was planned in advance as part of the IDF's 2013 training schedule."
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