Gaza Border Official: ‘Dramatic Policy Change’ Needed on Balloon Terror

Incendiary balloons found Thursday in the Gaza border area. (Police Spokesperson)

Despite a further cut in the area where Gaza fishermen can sail and an attack on Hamas targets early Thursday, Gaza Arab terrorists have apparently not halted their use of incendiary balloons to attack Israel.

Police said Thursday that more suspicious balloons were seen in the area of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. The new attack comes after firefighters put out eight fires Wednesday night, due to terror balloons dispatched by Gaza Arabs.

The IDF imposed a naval closure on all of Gaza Wednesday night in response to the fires. Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at Israeli targets, and the IDF retaliated by hitting Hamas targets. Israel had agreed to increase the range fishing vessels could ply to 15 nautical miles as part of the understandings negotiated by U.N. and Egyptian mediators that led to the end of Gaza rocket attacks against southern Israel several weeks ago. Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets at southern Israel during those attacks. Part of those understandings entailed an end to incendiary balloon attacks.

Hamas has not yet retaliated for the IDF’s striking several of its targets earlier Thursday, according to what has become an ongoing “ritual,” said Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council – and the ritual is not bringing the desired results. In a social media post, Yarkoni said Thursday that “for a year and a half we have been undergoing this ritual. They set off incendiary balloons and cause fires, we impose sanctions, they respond with a rocket attack and we shoot back, and we find ourselves in a round of outright warfare that lasts for 48 hours. We have had 11 such rounds, and they have all ended with no conclusion or resolution.

“We can no longer explain to residents the policy that is driving this situation and why this is the best policy to follow, because we don’t really know what the policy is,” said Yarkoni. “Whatever we are doing is not working, and we expect a dramatic change that will bring about a new reality.”