IDF Hits Hamas Targets in Response to Incendiary Balloon Launches

A machinery works to remove the debris atop a Hamas building damaged in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Monday. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Israeli warplanes struck several targets in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF announced early Monday, saying it was responding to the launches of incendiary balloons that caused at least three blazes in southern Israel.

The IDF said it had struck a Hamas military infrastructure including a base with several structures. It said the base was near civilian areas that included a school but gave no further details. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The airstrike came several hours after the incendiary balloons were launched into Israel by Hamas-affiliated terrorists. Photos and video posted on social media showed them launching the balloons into Israel. On one of them was written the message: “Time is running out.”

Arab social media outlets also showed videos of Hamas terrorists in Gaza firing rifles into the air at IDF aircraft. It was also reported that an IDF drone crash-landed inside Gaza.

Arab outlets also reported Israeli strikes in eastern Khan Yunis in southern Gaza and attacked an open field in the al-Sudaniya area.

Israeli media reported at least three fires set in southern Israel, breaking a three-week lull in Hamas’ cross-border arson campaign.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has compared the incendiary balloons to rocket fire and has ordered airstrikes following previous instances as well.

In an initial response, the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories unit, the Israeli defense body that oversees Palestinian civilian affairs, announced Sunday that Israel was cutting the fishing zone for Gazan fishermen in half, from 12 nautical miles to six nautical miles. Reducing the fishing area is a common Israeli response to attacks emanating from Gaza.

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