The IDF attacked three Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning in response to dozens of incendiary and explosive balloons launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
“IDF fighter jets, helicopters and tanks attacked a number of Hamas terror sites in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF stated. “A military compound, underground infrastructure, and observation posts of the Hamas terrorist organization were struck during the attack.”
There were over 68 fires sparked by incendiary and explosive balloons launched from Gaza in southern Israel throughout the day on Tuesday, burning about 2,000 dunams of land. Most of the fires were in border communities in the Eshkol Regional Council, and firefighters worked around the clock to extinguish the fires.
Terror balloon units in the Gaza Strip warned on Wednesday that they would continue launching explosive balloons on Wednesday in response to the IDF strikes.
These balloons look pretty innocent…
but attached to them are dangerous explosives that catch fire on impact.
Today, terrorists in Gaza launched dozens of these explosive balloons, causing fires across southern Israel.
This is terror—and it must be stopped. pic.twitter.com/ESiC91hJjh
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 11, 2020
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group also stated that they will continue launching the balloons and will respond to every attack by Israel. “Balloon launches are part of our national operations and they will continue in order to pressure Israel into implementing the agreement on reducing the siege.”
Three fires were reported in southern Israel as of Wednesday morning and an explosive balloon landed on a Border Police base in the Chof Ashkelon Regional Council.
— matan tzuri מתן צורי (@MatanTzuri) August 12, 2020
The IDF strikes were carried out after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened on Tuesday to “respond forcefully” if the arson attacks continued.
בימים האחרונים התחדשו אירועי בלוני הנפץ ובלוני התבערה. אם נתקלתם בבלונים חשודים, התרחקו מהמקום ודווחו מיד למוקד 100. החבלנים שלנו יטפלו בהם באופן מקצועי ובטוח pic.twitter.com/5jjinE7cPB
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) August 12, 2020
On a tour of the Home Front Command center on Tuesday, Gantz said that if Hamas doesn’t stop disturbing Israel’s security: “We will need to respond, and forcefully.”
Netanyahu toured the Chatzor air force base on Tuesday and threatened to “exact a heavy price” for the terror balloons and accused Iran of being behind the balloon attacks, most likely a reference to the Iran-backed PIJ. “I want to say to all of Iran’s forces, including those in Gaza – there will be a very heavy price for the balloon terror.”
בסיור ביטחוני בבסיס חיל האוויר ״חצור״ עם הרמטכ״ל ומפקד חיל האוויר.
חיל האוויר פועל ברדיוס של 360 מעלות נגד האיומים על מדינת ישראל. הטייסים שלנו עושים עבודה מצויינת. pic.twitter.com/NpBdRPbGm4
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) August 11, 2020
Israel closed the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing on Tuesday in response to the terror balloons, stopping the transfer of all goods except humanitarian aid, fuel and food.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)