חשד לבלוני תבערה בניר עם
Field in southern Israel scorched by incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip into southern
Photo: Roee Idan
Gaza militants preparing airborne explosives to launch into Israel

Hamas is playing its extortion games again

Analysis: Against the backdrop of renewed tensions on Gaza border, massive Qatari financial aid to the coastal enclave is set to expire and the Islamist group in charge of the Strip may be using aggression to wring out additional funds

Elior Levy |
Published: 08.09.20 , 14:31
With the explosives and incendiary balloons being flown anew from the Gaza Strip to Israel in recent days, Hamas was signaling its dissatisfaction to the pertinent parties – Israel, Egypt, the UN, and chiefly Qatar.
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  • It seems as if there is a direct link between the resumed launch of airborne explosives and the lack of clarity for the future of the financial aid that Qatar has been transferring to the Gaza Strip each month for the past two years.
    הפרחת בלוני תבערה לעבר ישראלהפרחת בלוני תבערה לעבר ישראל
    Gaza militants preparing airborne explosives to launch into Israel
    Although the launch of airborne explosives is carried out by alleged civilian sub-units, they are operated behind the scenes by Hamas and under the organization's approval.
    Lebanese daily newspaper Al Akhbar, which is affiliated with Hamas, reported Saturday morning that the terrorist group sent a message to Egyptian intelligence that the calm period on the Gaza border would end. This was because the group senses that Israel is impeding the execution of large-scale development projects to help improve the humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave it rules.
    These same sources that provided the details to the Lebanese paper estimated that tensions on the Gaza border would increase in the coming days, as they expect the terrorist factions in the Strip to respond to every Israeli offensive step in response to balloons and even rockets.
    The Hamas threats coincide with the deadline for the transfer of the monthly Qatari aid to the Gaza Strip, and the group does not see any intention or initiative to resume the transfer of the funds at this stage.
    Qatar in March extended the transfer of the funds for an additional six months, which is due to expire in September.
    חלוקת המענק הקטאריחלוקת המענק הקטארי
    Gazans stand in line to receive Qatari financial aid
    It seems that Hamas has decided to increase pressure on the border because the organization's leadership believes it will push Qatar to further extend the aid and break the current stalemate on the issue.
    In recent days, dozens of explosive balloons have been detected near the Gaza border - a bundle of balloons with an improvised hand grenade was spotted Saturday morning near Kibbutz Nir Oz in the Eshkol Regional Council, and the Fire and Rescue Services reported that three wildfires broke out in the regional council due to incendiary balloons on Thursday.
    The Nature and Parks Authority reported that about 75 acres caught fire in the Be'eri Nature Reserve.
    In the afternoon, police sappers were dispatched to neutralize an explosive device attached to a balloon that was located in the industrial zone of the city of Arad, near the Dead Sea.
    חשד לבלוני תבערה בניר עםחשד לבלוני תבערה בניר עם
    Field in southern Israel scorched by incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip
    (Photo: Roee Idan)
    In response, the IDF attacked several Hamas military targets in the Strip overnight Friday. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that Israeli aircraft attacked Hamas underground infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip.
    After the attack, Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter that, "The State of Israel will not accept any violation of its sovereignty and any harm caused to the residents of the south.
    "They need to understand in Gaza that there is no other solution – only the return of the boys [fallen soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and captives Hisham al-Saeed and Avera Mengistu] and calm will bring economic growth to the Strip. If the terrorist organizations have not yet realized - whoever puts Israel to the test will be severely harmed."
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