image Photo: Flash90

IDF retaliates for Gaza arson attacks

The IDF launched a series of strikes on Hamas terrorist facilities following airborne incendiary attacks on southern Israel

By Erin Viner

Israeli jets successfully hit a Hamas rocket production facility and an installation in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, military sources said this morning.

The retaliation came after fire balloons flown from the Islamist Hamas-run Palestinian enclave ignited 3 separate fires near Israeli towns in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blazes before they could cause significant damage.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that “the (targeted) military compound contains a cement factory used for building terror tunnels, and is purposefully located in a civilian area adjacent to a mosque and a water treatment site,” which once again serves as “more evidence of how the Hamas terrorist organization deliberately places its military assets adjacent to civilian infrastructure.”

The IDF further reiterated that it “will continue to respond forcefully to any terror attempts emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

Despite continued warnings from Jerusalem that the arson attacks will not be tolerated, Palestinian terrorists have persisted in the launching of incendiary devices attached to kites or balloons into Israel.

Hostilities remain high in spite of intensified efforts to bolster the ceasefire brokered in the wake of the 11-day Operation Guardian of Wall conflict between the sides in May.

Due to rising concern by Israeli security officials over the outbreak of violence during ongoing Jewish observance of the High Holy Days, the IDF has raised the level of alert while deploying reinforcements and additional Iron Dome aerial defense batteries along the Gaza front.

Even though Israel has been gradually increasing humanitarian assistance to Gaza residents in recent weeks via agreement with Qatar, Hamas officials have rejected the relief measures as insufficient and have demanded the immediate lifting of the Israeli/Egyptian blockade on the enclave.

Palestinians hurled improvised explosives at IDF troops guarding the Gaza border in nightly riots this past week, despite Israel’s facilitation of dozens of truckloads of construction materials into the Strip.

“The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are determined to have all their demands met and will not accept any more (humanitarian) measures,” the Palestinian Shehab news agency cited Hamas Spokesperson Abd al-Latif Qanoa as saying over the weekend. He added that failure by Israel to acquiesce to that demand would by met by escalated Hamas operations against the Jewish State including further arson attacks.

“We are launching balloons filled with threatening messages and carrying pictures of the Palestinian martyrs who were assassinated by the Zionist enemy,” a Palestinian Islamist member of incendiary balloon cell identified as Abu Malik told Reuters.

“Our message is that if the enemy continues to blockade Gaza, the balloons will be loaded with burning flames and explosives,” he threatened.