by: Elior Levy
Thursday, 13 February 2020 | The Hamas terror group, which runs the Gaza Strip, has decided to halt the use of explosive-laden balloons to attack Israel, a Palestinian newspaper reported Tuesday.
According to Al-Quds newspaper, which is affiliated with the Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political] movement, a message was sent Tuesday morning to all cells carrying out balloon attacks, following a meeting in Gaza between the Hamas leadership and Egyptian mediators trying to negotiate a long-term ceasefire arrangement between the terror group and Israel.
Despite the report, a balloon carrying a small explosive landed Tuesday morning outside a kindergarten at Kibbutz [collective community] Sa’ad in the Negev.
A police sapper neutralized the small explosive charge and there were no injuries or damage.
The balloon was spotted by parents taking their children to kindergarten, which opened as usual.
The Egyptian delegation arrived in Gaza on Monday morning and met with Hamas leaders then.
They gave Hamas a message from Israel that if there were not quiet in Gaza, Israel would deliver a tough blow to the organization, something that Egypt is warning would have both American and international support.
Hamas, for its part, made clear to members of the delegation that it was not interested an escalation but that there would not be quiet on the border so long as there were delays in reaching an understanding and implementing relief measures for the Gazan population.
Hamas also warned Israel that an assassination or another rash military step would lead to a major and extensive round of fighting.
The group’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, skipped the Monday meeting with the Egyptian delegation due to growing fears within the terror group that Israel was planning to assassinate him.
The terror group has recently beefed-up security around Sinwar during all of his public appearances, which have now halted almost entirely.
Before entering Gaza, members of the Egyptian delegation held meetings with Israeli officials, including the National Security Council, the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security] service and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
The meetings were believed to be less focused on a long-term arrangement and more on trying to avoid another cross-border flare up in the wake of the recent tensions between the two sides.
Hamas apparently has also asked the Egyptian officials, who were set to tour the border between Egypt and Gaza, for logistical assistance in protecting the border fence.
The border has become somewhat volatile in recent months due to infiltration attempts made by Islamic State-affiliated groups from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza.
Posted on February 13, 2020
Photo Credit: Zev Marmorstein, IDF Spokesperson's Unit/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
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