Israel hammers Gaza Strip after fire balloons destroy fields

Tensions with the Gaza Strip have escalated over the past week. Most link it to the coming end of monthly payments from Qatar.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

IDF aircraft struck an observation post belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. The attack was in response to explosive balloons launched from the Strip into Israeli territory.

On Thursday, Palestinian terrorists floated 20 explosive balloons into Israel, signaling a new round of floating arson into Israel. It breaks several months of relative calm in Israel’s south. Balloons have arrived daily since, though in reduced numbers. On Saturday, only two balloons were launched.

However, tensions have escalated. On Sunday, an Israeli construction crew came under attack.

They were working on the underground barrier that Israel had built along the entire 65-kilometer border with the Gaza Strip to prevent tunneling into Israel. When an IDF unit arrived to investigate the reports of gunfire, they, too, were fired upon. The IDF responded with mortars. There were no injuries on the Israeli side.

Last week, terrorists launched a rocket from the Gaza Strip. It was intercepted by the Iron Dome. The IDF responded against Hamas terrorist targets then too.

The rise in attacks coincides with the expiration next month of monthly cash payment transfers from Qatar. The Lebanon paper Al Ahbar noted that Hamas members said that one of the reasons for the renewed arson attacks was the fact that the money from Qatar was stopping. The Hamas officials said the calm had come to an end and Israel should expect an escalation.

Islamic Jihad, a smaller terror group in the Strip, also threatened Israel on Sunday. It said Israel “will bear the consequences of anything that happens to the residents or farmers [of Gaza] as a result of the escalation.”

According to Ynet, Islamic Jihad called the incident “the continuation of Israeli terror” that will lead to a “Palestinian response.” 

Gaza terrorists have launched incendiary devices on and off since March 2018, when Hamas announced its weekly “March of Return,” which includes thousands rioting at the border.

JNS contributed to this report.