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Gunfire, Incendiary Devices and Air Strikes: A Volatile Weekend on the Gaza Border

August 10, 2020

by: Kate Norman

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Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel (illustrative)

Monday, 10 August 2020 | While tensions on Israel’s northern borders simmer with multiple attempted attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon and from Syria, the Jewish state also faces attacks in the south from Gaza. It was a volatile week that saw incendiary balloons, gunfire from Gaza on Israeli civilians and soldiers, and retaliatory Israeli strikes.

On Sunday, shots were fired from the terror enclave toward Israeli contract workers who were constructing security barriers along the border with Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fired mortars to create a smokescreen and safely evacuate the workers, but when Israeli soldiers arrived on scene, so did more gunfire from Gaza.

There were no reported Israeli casualties, but nonetheless, Israel takes such attacks seriously.

With trouble brewing in the north, the Jewish state can scarcely afford to deal with Gazan mischief in the south. Defense Minister Benny Gantz took to social media to warn Gaza off further attacks: “The State of Israel will not accept any violation of its sovereignty or harm to residents of the south. If the terror organizations still don’t understand, whoever tests Israel will be hit hard.”

This warning followed another busy week in the seemingly endless cycle of calm and clashes on the Israel–Gaza boundary. The Sunday before last, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza, and the IDF responded by striking several Hamas targets in Gaza—including, the military said, a cement factory that was likely involved in building Hamas’s terror tunnels through which the group seeks to infiltrate and attack Israel.

This past week also saw the resurgence of balloons attached to incendiary and explosive devices floating into the Jewish state—intended to spark fires and burn Israeli land or explode and cause material damage or even casualties. Terrorists in the enclave launched several balloons with explosives on Thursday.

“In response, our aircraft just struck Hamas underground terror infrastructure in Gaza,” the IDF announced on Twitter. “We won’t let Hamas terrorize Israeli civilians.”

The rest of the world looking at the Gaza Strip may marvel at how such a tiny pocket of land can cause such big disturbances. Yet terrorists in the Strip are able to make life miserable for Israeli families who live in the region. By sending off rockets sporadically and especially at night, they can force sleeping Israeli families to scramble for shelter under the scream of sirens. They can disturb the peace using cheap but effective incendiary balloons. One balloon can spark a fire that can burn hundreds or thousands of acres of land, especially fields and farmland that make up the livelihood for Israelis in the south.

After Sunday’s back-and-forth, farmers and agricultural workers in the Eshkol Region, which borders Gaza, have been barred from approaching the border zone, even for their work, “until further notice,” by order of the regional council.

The constant barrage of balloons, gunfire and rockets to disrupt daily living for Israeli families in the south likely points to a big problem for Hamas and Gaza: money.

Qatar, an oil state on the Arabian Peninsula, regularly sends millions of dollars to the terror enclave in order to keep its “government” afloat. However, the current period of funding is due to run out soon, and Arab and Israeli media both speculate that the recent action emanating from the Strip are a tantrum to draw more money out of Qatar, a mediator in the ongoing Gaza–Israel cease-fire negotiations.

Posted on August 10, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 10, 2020)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesman/wikipedia.org

Photo License: wikipedia.org