Israel Responds To Continued Incendiary Balloon Attacks From Gaza

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Israel on Thursday struck Hamas targets overnight in Gaza1 in response to incendiary balloons launched into Southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, the army said.

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said explosive balloons continued to be launched from Gaza into Israel, causing fires on land across Southern Israel.

“In response, we just struck Hamas targets in Gaza, including a military compound, underground infrastructure and observation posts,” the forces said.

Meanwhile, there had been a lull in what Israel described as “balloon terrorism” since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but incidents recently started up again.

The attacks in recent days have seen swathes of land burned in Southern Israel.

The latest retaliation from the IDF targeted a military compound, underground infrastructure and observation posts belonging to the radical Islamist Hamas movement, which it holds responsible for the attacks.

Earlier, Israel’s Chief liaison office with the Palestinians, COGAT, said that following security consultations during the night, Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered to halt the import of fuel into the Gaza Strip.

“This is in light of the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Strip toward the territory of the State of Israel and of the undermining of security stability,” it said.

However, only essential humanitarian goods are now allowed to enter Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

On Wednesday, Israel already reduced the fishing zone of the Gaza Strip from 15 nautical miles (some 28 kilometres) to 8 (some 15 kilometres), immediately until further notice.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the U.S. and the EU.

Israel captured Gaza from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War, but unilaterally pulled out its army and evacuated its settlements in the Strip in 2005.

Israel, however, continued to control Gaza’s borders, along with Egypt. Israel frequently closes crossings in response to rocket fire and violence along the border.

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