Israeli firefighters on Thursday afternoon were battling three fires in areas along the Gaza border, apparently caused by incendiary devices attached to balloons. The fires, which were not under control as of early Thursday afternoon, were at the Be’eri Forest, Shokeda, and near Nachal Oz. The latter fire was brought under control later Thursday afternoon.
Although Wednesday, when over 10,000 Gaza Arabs rioted at the border fence, passed relatively quietly, several fires broke out in the border area, also caused by terror balloons. In the understandings that Israel arrived at with Hamas after the recent round of rocket fire last weekend, Hamas had pledged to ensure that the terror balloon attacks were halted.
In exchange for that quiet, Israel undertook to reopen the Gaza crossings, widen the amount and scope of goods that could be shipped into Gaza, ensure that Qatari money was delivered to Hamas, and expand the area where Gazans could fish to 15 nautical miles. Over the past several days, all of these commitments were fulfilled.
Gaza reports Thursday said that Israel had actually reduced the fishing area, but in a statement, the IDF said this was incorrect. “Despite the reports, we want to clarify that there has been no change in the fishing area off the Gaza coast. Signs that were put up Thursday morning were deployed as guides for fishermen, and not to limit the fishing areas,” the IDF’s spokesperson said in a statement in Arabic.