IDF Hits Hamas Targets in Gaza After Arson Balloons Spark Fires

YERUSHALAYIM -
A part of a wheat field goes up in flames after Palestinians in Gaza sent incendiary balloons over the border near Nir Am, southern Israel, in May. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The Israeli Air Force struck several Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Motzoei Shabbos in response to a wave of incendiary balloons launched by the terrorist organization into Israel a day earlier, causing several fires in the south.

The IAF bombed a Hamas camp and a rocket-launching site, the IDF said in a statement, and emphasized that it would “continue to respond with strikes to any further terror attempts from Gaza.”

On Friday, arson balloons launched from the strip sparked four brush fires in the south. The fires broke out in the Kissufim and Be’eri Forests, two nature reserves located near the Gaza border, officials said.

The attack came hours after escalation on the northern border after Hezbollah fired a barrage of rockets on the Jewish state.

Gaza balloon unit Ahfad An-Nassar claimed responsibility for the launches, saying it had attacked Israel “in solidarity” with Lebanon following retaliatory IAF airstrikes in Lebanon last week that came in response to sporadic rocket fire on northern Israel.

Earlier in the day, Hamas expressed “full support” for Hezbollah’s attack on the “Zionist enemy,” saying the Shiite terrorist group was “challenging Israel’s attempts to impose its own rules of engagement.”

Hezbollah took responsibility for launching rockets at Israeli territory on Friday, saying it was in response to Israeli airstrikes on open areas in the al-Jarmaq and al-Shawakir areas on Wednesday night.