Palestinian Islamists incessantly persist with attempts to harm Israel by means of incendiary and improvised explosive devices attached to balloons. Several such clusters were sent sailing from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory, consequently sparking several blazes in fields between the town of Sderot and the community of Or Ha’Ner.
“This is already the fifth consecutive day that suspicious objects have been landing from the Gaza Strip inside Israel, with explosive devices attached to them,” said Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld,” adding that “Once again, our police bomb disposal experts arrived at the scene and prevented any further danger to the (civilian) community.” Superintendent Rosenfeld also noted that “heightened security continues in the southern area throughout this week.”
In response to the increase of terror emanating from the Hamas-controlled enclave, Israeli Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructed the Military Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to close the Kerem Shalom Crossing which serves as the main passage for the transport of goods between Israel and Gaza.
According to a statement to TV7 from COGAT, “The decision was made following security deliberations and in light of repeated terror attacks committed by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip against Israeli citizens, which is a violation of the Israeli sovereignty.”
COGAT further underscored that “The launching of the incendiary balloons and the violation of the security calm will first and foremost harm the residents of the Gaza Strip, the economic growth as well as the attempts to improve the civilian situation of its residents,” while stressing that “The IDF and the State of Israel will react forcefully and in an uncompromising manner to any violation of sovereignty and to any threat imposed to (its) citizens.”
It is important to note, however, that Israel made an exception to the closure, by permitting the continued transfer of essential humanitarian equipment and fuel. Hamas nevertheless relayed a threatening message to Jerusalem including a vow to escalate use of terror balloons if the commercial crossing between Israel and Gaza is not reopened.