Illustrative: An IDF airstrike in Gaza

Israel hits Gaza in response to incendiary balloon launches

IDF says it struck Hamas military base, no casualties reported; COGAT cuts enclave's fishing zone in half from 12 nautical miles to six nautical miles in response to attacks that caused three blazes in south

Associated Press |
Published: 07.26.21, 10:36
Israeli warplanes struck a target in the southern Gaza Strip, the IDF announced early Monday, saying it was responding to the launches of incendiary balloons that caused at least three blazes in southern Israel.
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  • The military said it had struck a Hamas military base. It said the base was near civilian areas that included a school but gave no further details. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    In this file photo taken on August 23, 2014 a ball of fire rises from a building following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
    In this file photo taken on August 23, 2014 a ball of fire rises from a building following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
    Illustrative: An IDF airstrike in Gaza
    (Photo: AFP/Archive)
    The airstrike came several hours after the incendiary balloons were launched into Israel by militants linked to Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group. Photos and video posted on social media showed them sending the balloons into Israel. On one of them was written the message: “Time is running out.”
    The launches came two months after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. The Islamic militant group is upset that Israel has done little to ease a crippling blockade on the territory since the fighting ended, and over delays in indirect negotiations with Israel to resume Qatari financial aid to Gaza.
    Israeli media reported at least three fires set in southern Israel, breaking a three-week lull in the launches of the balloons.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has compared the balloon launches to rocket fire and has ordered airstrikes following previous instances as well.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    פלסטינים בעזה מכינים בלוני נפץ
    פלסטינים בעזה מכינים בלוני נפץ
    Hamas militants launching balloon bombs from the Gaza Strip into Israel
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    In an initial response, COGAT, the Defense Ministry body that oversees Palestinian civilian affairs, announced Sunday that Israel was cutting the fishing zone for Gazan fishermen in half, from 12 nautical miles to six nautical miles. Reducing the fishing area is a common Israeli response to fire emanating from Gaza.
    Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas, a group sworn to seek Israel’s destruction, seized power in 2007.
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