IDF Accuses Hamas of Organizing Arson Attacks

gaza fire
An Israeli tractor extinguishes a fire started by a Palestinian burning kite, on the Israel-Gaza border, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The IDF sought to dispel the impression that the airborne arson attacks from Gaza are spontaneous popular protests with a video of Hamas operatives involved in launching the incendiary devices.

“The arson terrorism is intentional and timed by the Hamas terror organization,” the IDF accused. “Hamas is leading the incendiary and explosives kite terrorism, the organization is the one behind the launching (of the balloons and kites), and it will bear the responsibility for this terror phenomenon.”

To support its charge, the army released a video, taken by its surveillance cameras, showing masked men taking balloons from what the IDF said was a Hamas observation post and walking toward the border, presumably to launch them at southern Israel.

In addition, the IDF published the names and photographs of four men that it accused of leading the arson attacks: Bassem Hatem Abd Hazin, Mutasim Fathi Atia Nabahin, Muhana Ibrahim Abd Hamdan and Amro Hussein Muhammad Abu Deif.

While the military conceded that the arson attacks “began as a form of popular terrorism,” Hamas took it over, and “in recent weeks it has been noticed that Hamas is leading this process…”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has called for a policy of shoot-to-kill in response to the attackers, said the army’s evidence that Hamas is running it, supported his contention that lethal force is necessary and justified.

“Another piece of evidence that we should shoot at these terrorists launching terror kites and explosive balloons in order to thwart the threat to life that they create,” he wrote online Sunday.