Hamas fired a barrage of almost a dozen rockets in what is considered to be a sign of the terror group’s determination to end the relative calm on the border in the last few months.
The rockets weren’t directed at Israel but rather at the Mediterranean Sea, a training exercise which the terror group routinely carries out but always at night and almost always just one rocket at a time. This time it launched the rockets during the day to the cheers of Gazan residents.
Hamas is seemingly determined to escalate tension on the Gaza border in the past week, launching dozens of incendiary and explosive balloons into southern Israel, causing several fires, after a lull of several months when almost no balloons were seen. Balloons were even found in the city of Arad, almost 80 kilometers away.
The escalation of tension has been attributed to the fact that Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip may not continue past September, the end of the six-month extension Qatar enacted in March. Hamas is attempting to change that by increasing tension on the Gazan border.
Three explosive balloons launched from the Gaza Strip exploded on Monday afternoon over Sderot. A fourth ballon was found in the northern Negev before it exploded.
On Monday morning, an explosive balloon was found in a field in Moshav Nir Moshe on Monday morning and a fire broke out next to Kibbutz Erez from an explosive balloon that landed in the area.
On Sunday night, the IDF struck a Hamas observation post in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the launchings of the explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip and struck several targets in Gaza in retaliatory strikes on Thursday as well.
There reportedly has been a breakdown in the ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas overseen by Egyptian officials.
An incident occurred on Sunday as well when IDF soldiers fired mortar shells into Gaza following gunfire at Israelis civilian workers on the Gaza border fence.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad later threatened to respond to the “Israeli terror,” saying that Israel “will pay the consequences of anything that happens to Gazan residents or farmers due to the escalation.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)