Israel Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza After Incendiary Balloons Start Fires in South

Earlier, Israel halved Gaza's fishing zone after explosive-laden balloons from the Strip started three brush fires in the Negev

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File photo: Smoke and flames are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip.
File photo: Smoke and flames are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip.Credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters

Israeli fighter jets struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight into Monday, the Israeli military said, after incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip started three brush fires in the Negev.

Reports by Palestinian media said Israel struck targets in the northern and southern Strip, starting Sunday evening. Israeli drones reportedly struck sites used by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.

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In a statement, the Israeli military said it targeted a military compound used by Hamas and "located next to civilian sites, including a school."

Earlier on Sunday, Israel halved the zone in which Gazans are permitted to fish.

A fire in the Eshkol Regional Council, on Sunday.Credit: Eshkol Security Services

The army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said the fishing zone would be reduced from 12 to six nautical miles from Gaza's shore, effective immediately. It said the decision was a response to the incendiary balloons launched at Israel, “which constitute a violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

“The terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for everything done to Israel in or from the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences of the violence against Israeli civilians,” it added.

The brush fires, which were all in the area of the Eshkol Regional Council, were the first to be sparked by incendiary balloons in the past three weeks.

Firefighters worked to extinguish the blazes together with personnel from the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and local communities’ security coordinators.

Prior to May’s hostilities between Hamas and Israel, the permitted fishing zone was 15 nautical miles. Two weeks ago, the fishing zone was expanded from 9 to 12 nautical miles following an extended period of quiet between Israel and Gaza.

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