NEWS

Renewed Violence Flares on the Israel–Gaza Border

January 27, 2020

by: Kate Norman

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The Israeli Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday (illustrative)

Monday, 27 January 2020 | The past weekend was a step backward for the Gaza border situation as terrorists in the enclave sent balloons attached to explosives and incendiary devices over the border and launched a rocket into Israel—prompting retaliatory strikes from the Israeli military.

Over the past several days, terrorists in Gaza have reverted to the cheap but effective tactic of sending incendiary balloons into Israel—a vicious tactic that sparked hundreds of fires and burned thousands of acres of Israeli farmland, fields and other civilian territory last year. Israeli police scrambled around southern Israel over the weekend to disarm and remove multiple clusters of balloons tied to explosives.

One of the balloon clusters made it as far as a kibbutz (collective community) in Israel’s Negev desert, over 25 miles (40 km) from Gaza, the Times of Israel reported.

In addition to the disturbing resurgence of balloon attacks, terrorists fired a rocket into Israel yesterday. Though it landed in an unpopulated area and caused no damage or injuries, the Jewish state had enough and retaliated.

“In response to the rocket and explosive balloons launched from Gaza at Israel, we just struck a Hamas military post in Gaza,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Twitter. The terror targets included a military compound and a weapons manufacturing site, according to the IDF, belonging to Hamas—the terror group in charge of the Gaza Strip.

“The IDF views very seriously any activity [of sabotage] of any kind toward Israel’s territory and will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm its citizens,” the military said in a statement.

Hamas most likely did not fire yesterday’s rocket as the terror group is in “under the table” negotiations with Israel mediated by Egypt, a Middle East analyst told i24News, but that doesn’t mean it was fired without Hamas’s approval.

Nonetheless, the IDF holds Hamas responsible for all terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip and almost exclusively conducts retaliatory strikes on Hamas targets after attacks on Israel from the Strip. This is a tactic Israel uses to force Hamas to keep the other terror entities operating in Gaza on a tight leash.

Analysts and the media are speculating that the incendiary balloons and the rocket are Hamas’s way of pressuring the Jewish state into hurrying the peace negotiations along in order to ease Israel’s tight security on the Gaza border—loosening restrictions along the border crossings and the fishing zones in the enclave.

A Hamas official told the media that disgruntled individuals instead of Hamas launched the balloons, the Times of Israel reported, but Hamas was “satisfied” with the incendiary balloons and will continue to do so “if the occupation doesn’t pick up the message.”

Posted on January 27, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 27, 2020)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com