Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation for release of incendiary balloons
Jerusalem/Gaza, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- The Israeli Army shelled Hamas targets in Gaza early Thursday and said it would suspend the entry of fuel in the strip.
The announcement came in response to the launch of dozens of balloons with explosives attached – that catch fire on contact – to Israel from Gaza, which have caused fires and burned at least 300 hectares of land in recent days.
“Explosive balloons continued to be launched from Gaza into Israel today, causing fires on land across southern Israel. In response, we just struck Hamas targets in Gaza,” the Israeli Defense Forces tweeted.
It added that they targeted “a military compound, underground infrastructure & observation posts” and held Hamas responsible for sending the incendiary balloons.
Sources in Hamas confirmed to EFE that the attacks, which occurred in the western and southern parts of the enclave, did not cause any casualties.
Apart from multiple bombings carried out in recent days, Israel has also announced the closure of Kerem Shalom – the only trade crossing to the strip – the reduction of permissible fishing area for Gaza residents from 15 to 8 nautical miles (24 kms to 13 kms) and the suspension of fuel entry into the coastal enclave.
Dozens of explosive balloons, usually launched by groups of young people with their faces covered, caused at least 24 fires on Israeli territory on Wednesday, and around 70 of them on Tuesday.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the suspension of fuel imports into Gaza, in light of the continued launch of explosive balloons, which he claimed, undermined stability and security in the area, the COGAT – the Israeli military organization for the coordination of activities in the Palestinian territories – said early Thursday.
COGAT stressed that Hamas was responsible for everything taking place in Gaza Strip, including all “anti-Israel activities” from there, and would have to face the consequences of the acts of violence against Israeli citizens.
The fishermen’s guild of Gaza denounced Wednesday that while the fishing area had originally been reduced to 15 miles, Israeli military ships were chasing away fishing boats and restricting them within an area of eight miles.
Tension in and around Gaza has continued to increase in the last week, jeopardizing the fragile ceasefire understanding that has been in place for months. EFE-EPA