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Israel reacts to fire balloons from the Gaza Strip with fighter jets

Smoke and flames are rising after warplanes belonging to the Israeli army carried out airstrikes on the southern Gaza Strip Rafah, 1
2 August 2020.

Said KHATIB / AFP via Getty

Gaza City Israel attacked targets for the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza and stopped the fuel supply to the enclave on Thursday in the latest retaliation against firebombs hanging from balloons dropped from Palestinian territory.

Israeli warplanes and tanks hit overnight in the fourth military attack in the past week, causing no reported injuries Thursday but leaving an unexploded missile inside a UN-led school facility in Gaza’s Shati refugee camp.

A Palestinian security staff in Gaza said that “an unexploded ordnance fired by an Israeli plane” had penetrated inside the school grounds and that “explosive technology teams are working to disarm it.”

Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinians, also told AFP that the missile had landed in one of its schools, where children had just returned on Sunday after a five-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. .

“We closed the school and are awaiting an investigation to establish the facts and extent of the damage,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army told AFP that the military was looking into the allegation.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense said the fuel sanctions came “in light of the continued launch of burning balloons from the strip towards the state territory of Israel and to undermine security stability.”

Palestinian-ISRAEL conflicts
Masked Palestinians attach burning devices to balloons before being released into Israel near the al-Bureij refugee camp along the Israeli-Gaza border, August 12, 2020.


In the latest round of hostilities, firebombs have been attached to lots of balloons floating into Israel, setting agricultural fields and scrubbers on fire. Sometimes dragons are used in the temporary attacks.

Israeli fire services in the south of the country reported 60 fires caused by balloons on Tuesday and 24 on Wednesday, without registering any injured.

Police safeguards have also removed bombs attached to balloons that landed in southern Israel since August 6.

In response, Israel has closed its cargo crossing with Gaza and also reduced the territory’s permitted coastal fishing zone.

On Thursday, Hamas condemned Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its sanctions as “dangerous and aggressive behavior,” a warning in a statement of “consequences” that the Jewish state will have.

Hamas and Israel has fought three wars since 2008.

Israel kills top Palestinian militant in Gaza …


Despite a ceasefire last year with the support of the UN, Egypt and Qatar, the two sides collides sporadically with rockets, mortar or burning balloons.

The Gaza Strip has a population of two million, more than half of whom live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

Palestinian analysts say fire from Gaza often aims to pressure Israel to give the green light for the transfer of financial aid from Qatari to the Strip.

On Monday, Hamas fired several rockets into the sea as a warning message to Israel, a source close to the Islamist movement told AFP.

While Israel’s Iron Dome defense system was able to capture projectiles fired from Gaza, balloons and kites rigged with explosives proved to be another challenge.

The Israeli army said it was testing a “new laser balloon system.”

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