Israeli Tanks Hit Hamas Targets Amid Continued Incendiary Balloon Attacks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian men prepare to release balloon-borne explosive and incendiary devices towards Israeli lands near Rafah, along the Israel-Gaza border, last week. (Fadi Fahd/Flash90)

Israeli tanks struck Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, the IDF said, as Palestinian incendiary balloon attacks across the border continued despite international truce efforts.

The IDF statement said that 25 fires had been started by explosive devices attached to clusters of balloons, launched from Gaza into southern Israel over Shabbos.

“In response to the ongoing events, a short while ago… tanks struck military posts belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the southern Gaza Strip,” the IDF statement said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Israel has bombed Gaza almost daily since August 6, in response to the airborne incendiary devices launched across the border. On Friday, however, the army refrained from attacking despite dozens of fires which broke out in southern Israel as a result of incendiary balloons.

The fire bombs have triggered more than 400 blazes in southern Israel, according to the fire services, since the terror group renewed the practice a few weeks ago.

An Egyptian delegation has been shuttling between the two sides to try to broker a renewal of an informal truce. It was joined this week by Qatar’s Gaza envoy Mohammed el-Emadi, who delivered the latest tranche of $30 million in aid to the territory on Tuesday before holding talks with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.

Sources close to the Qatari delegation said the Israelis had told Emadi they were willing to end a punitive ban on fuel deliveries for Gaza’s power plant and ease their blockade if there was an end to the fire balloons.

Financial aid for the impoverished territory from gas-rich Qatar had been a major component of the truce, first agreed in November 2018 and renewed several times since.

But Israel had also said it would take other measures to alleviate unemployment of more than 50% in the territory of some two million people.