Photo: Reuters

IDF laser beams & airstrikes counter Gaza arson

Palestinians Islamists are stepping-up efforts to exert pressure on Jerusalem by terrorizing the southern communities of Israel.

Dozens of balloons attached to incendiary and explosive devices sent aloft out of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have sparked more than 70 blazes in Israeli areas, including the Eshkol, Sha’ar HaNegev and Hof Ashkelon Regional Councils.

Intelligence sources told TV7 that the Islamist Hamas organization aims to use its terror-related methods as leverage against Israel to extract additional benefits for the Palestinian enclave.

Jerusalem’s leadership is seemingly not impressed. Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared that the State of Israel will not tolerate the airborne incendiary attacks and noted that the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Gaza has already been closed in response. “They would do well to stop violating Israel’s safety and security. If that does not happen, we will need to respond, and forcefully,” he further vowed.

Israeli Border Police have deployed a device along the Gaza border designed to intercept the explosive balloons with the use of laser beams.

The Israeli Air Force also conducted a retaliatory bombardment against militant installations belonging to Hamas. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement that fighter jets, attack helicopters and tanks struck ‘a military compound, underground infrastructure and observation posts.’ It also reiterated that “the Hamas terror organization is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for terror activity against Israeli civilians.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised IAF operations after being briefed at the Hatzor Base by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

“I would like to make it clear to all of Iran’s proxies – including in Gaza: Balloon terrorism will have a heavy price,” emphasized the Israeli leader, adding, “We will take action and exact a heavy price. They should remember that we have done this in the past, because we will do it now as well.”

Hamas Spokesman Fauzi Barhoum issued a response condemning the Israeli airstrikes as so-called “crimes of the occupation,” insisting that “The continued Zionist aggression against Gaza and the targeting of infrastructure belonging to the Resistance indicates clearly that the occupation persists with its policy and crimes.”

Barhoum stressed that the IDF countermeasures “will not deter the Palestinian nation nor (its) armed struggle.”