Israeli naval blockade: Gazan shores closed after Hamas launches fire balloons

Gazan shores will be closed “until further notice,” Israeli authorities say.

By World Israel News Staff 

Israel announced Wednesday night that the Gazan shores will be closed “until further notice” to Palestinian fishermen due to a renewed flareup of violent attacks on Israel from Gaza.

In its statement, the IDF noted “the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.” Authorities say that eight booby-trapped balloons and kites were launched from Gaza on Wednesday. In six cases, they say, fires broke out on the Israeli side.

Such attacks have been taking place for more than a year, causing extensive damage to Israeli fields near the Gazan border and financial loss to Israeli farmers. Israel reportedly has made a cessation of such attacks a condition toward stopping IDF airstrikes on terror targets in Gaza. Wednesday’s attack was the largest daily launch in several weeks.

Also, overnight on Wednesday a rocket was fired from Gaza, landing in the Eshkol region of southern Israel. The IDF said that the rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.

A full naval blockade is a rare step taken by Israel. More frequently, Israeli authorities have reduced the size of the fishing zone off the Gazan coast when there was an uptick in violence and increased it again when relative calm was restored.

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Nizar Ayyash, chair of the Gazan Fishermen Union, complained in an interview with Ynet that the fishermen are caught in the middle, saying they are punished by Israel for actions for which they are not responsible.

The Islamic Jihad terror group is accusing Israel of making too many demands on the heels of an Israeli-Hamas truce brokered by Egypt in May after some 700 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Kan public radio cited a senior member of Hamas saying that the situation along the Gazan-Israeli border will deteriorate further if Israel does not abide by the terms of the ceasefire.

Israel reportedly is also demanding a stop to the violent clashes along the border, including the large protests which often take place on Fridays.