Photo: Flash90

Gaza balloon arson evokes IDF strike

Palestinian Islamists in the Gaza Strip unleashed several clusters of balloons attached to both incendiary and explosive devices throughout Thursday, which sparked several blazes in dry fields in Israel’s southern Eshkol Regional Council.

Even though local fire brigades succeeded in extinguishing the flames relatively quickly, some 300 dunams were burned in the Be’eri Forest.

In a separate incident, police bomb disposal experts located an Improvised Explosive Device in the industrial zone of the city of Arad. Israeli Police Spokesman Mikey Rosenfeld told TV7 that it was “taken to a safe area and neutralized preventing any injuries or anyone from being hurt.” Superintendent Rosenfeld also noted that “heightened security is continuing in the south to prevent any further suspicious objects from landing and to respond if necessary.”

Following the indiscriminate launching of the terror-balloons at civilian areas, the Israeli Air Force carried out retaliatory strikes 11:14 PM on militant installations belonging to the Islamist Hamas organization in Gaza. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit informed TV7 that a fighter jet and other aircraft struck infrastructure used for underground activities in the northern territory of the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Israeli Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Benny Gantz reiterated that Jerusalem would not tolerate any violations of its sovereignty or any harm to the residents of southern Israel. He further underscored, “In case terrorist organizations haven’t gotten it yet: if you test Israel, you will pay the price.”