Gaza Incendiaries Start Three Fires, First Since Ceasefire

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
gaza israel balloons
Incendiary balloons are prepared for launch from Gaza into Israel. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip on Sunday caused at least three fires in southern Israel, Israeli media reported, raising the prospect of renewed Israeli strikes on the Hamas-run territory.

Photos and video posted on social media showed Hamas-linked activists launching the balloons. On one of them was written the message: “Time is running out.”

The launches came two months after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. The Islamic terrorist group is upset that Israel has done little to ease its blockade on the territory since the fighting ended, and over delays in indirect negotiations with Israel to resume Qatari financial aid to Gaza.

Israeli leaders have stipulated that reconstruction of Gaza cannot begin until there is significant progress on the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in the 2105 Gaza fighting, along with two Israeli civilians who are being held by Hamas.

The blockade is maintained for security purposes, chiefly to prevent smuggling of terrorists and arms into the Strip.

Israeli media reported at least three fires set in southern Israel, breaking a three-week lull in the launches of the incendiary balloons.

Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has compared the balloon launches to rocket fire and has ordered airstrikes following previous launches.