World Bulletin / News Desk
Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip have accused Israel of using "incendiary pesticides" to destroy their farmland near the border with Israel.
"Israeli planes have sprayed our fields with mysterious chemicals and pesticides," farmer Essam Abu Muhareb, 42, who owns farmland in the Gaza Strip's town of Deir al-Balah near the border, told on Tuesday.
"The following day we found that a large part of our maize crop had been damaged," he asserted.
Farmer Mohamed Abu Gabal gave a similar account, saying his maize crops had been damaged after being sprayed by Israeli pesticides.
"I have incurred $15,000 in losses as a result," he told.
According to Gaza Agriculture Ministry official Wael Thabet, nearly 91 dunams of farmland have been damaged by Israeli pesticides. (One dunam is roughly equivalent to a quarter acre.)
"The Israeli pesticides have damaged seeds and trees," he said, going on to warn that Palestinian farmers would incur heavy losses due to the Israeli chemical spraying.
Thabet said his ministry had urged both the Red Cross and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to pressure the Israeli authorities for information about the pesticides.
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