The IDF stated that the attack comes in response to the number of incendiary balloons sent from Gaza not only on Friday, but throughout the week.
IDF tanks and fighter jets attacked a number of targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip on Friday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. The attack came in response to incendiary balloons sent from Gaza and landing in Israeli territory, causing some 21 fires to break out on Friday alone, following a pattern of attacks that have been occurring all week.
Palestinian sources report that the Friday attack occurred east of the al-Bureij refugee camp located in the center of the Gaza Strip.
During the attack, a naval force compound, underground infrastructure and observation posts belonging to Hamas were struck, according to the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit.
The IDF stated that the attack came in response to the number of incendiary balloons sent from Gaza not only on Friday, but throughout the week, adding that “all terrorist activity against Israel” is taken very seriously, and that the IDF “will do whatever is necessary to act in response to attempts to harm the citizens of Israel.”
Earlier on Friday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi made a similar comment following a number of fires having already broken out. He told the Gaza border community that incendiary and explosive balloon launches will end in the following days, Walla! reported.
The IDF has been acting in response to incendiary balloon attacks for days, the most recent of which, prior to Friday’s attack, occurred in between Thursday night and Friday morning, wherein IDF fighter jets and helicopters struck Hamas air defense, underground infrastructure, and observation posts.
The incendiary balloons caused some 27 fires to break out in the Gaza envelope on Thursday, and at least 120 had been reported throughout the week. Thursday’s incendiary balloon attacks came despite the Defense Ministry’s Thursday morning efforts to try and quell the attacks by halting the transfer of fuel into the Gaza Strip.“Hamas is accountable for all that is done in the Gaza Strip, as well as for actions launched from Gaza against Israel,” the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said. “Therefore, Hamas will have to bear the consequences of the violence committed against the citizens of the State of Israel.”Fuel is essential for Gaza because it is used to power its electricity plant. COGAT said it had stopped the fuel transfers in light of the continued launching of incendiary balloons toward Israel.On Wednesday morning IDF fighter jets, helicopters and tanks attacked Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip following numbers of incendiary balloon attacks having taken place over the course of the proceeding days.
After the IDF’s early morning strikes, terrorist balloon units warned that they would continue to launch the incendiary and explosive balloons, and at least 24 fires were sparked in Israeli territories by way of the landing balloons as a result.The day before, on Tuesday, the IDF put a stop to the passage of all but essential humanitarian supplies into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing, and had limited the nautical fishing miles from 15 to eight, in response to previous incendiary balloon attacks.The attempt to try and halt the balloon attacks seemingly failed, as that same day, 68 fires were sparked by incendiary and explosive balloons throughout the Gaza envelope, burning about 200 hectares of land.
Restrictions at Kerem Shalom are a measure of the level of tension between Hamas and Israel, which often precedes a serious outbreak of violence.In recent years, countless incendiary and explosive balloons have been launched by Gaza’s terrorists. They sometimes have books or toys attached to lure children. Some have sparked large wildfires, such as on Tuesday, and mainly damage crops.
Aaron Reich, Tzvi Joffre, Tovah Lazaroff, and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.