Israel Attacks Hamas Following Airborne Firebomb From Gaza

On Tuesday, the first airborne firebombs since November was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel

Incendiary balloons flown from Gaza into Israel, in the Eshkol regional council in southern Israel, on February 20, 2019.
Eshkol Council Security

The Israeli military attacked a Hamas outpost Wednesday in response to the first airborne firebomb fired from the Gaza Strip since November. 

According to the military statement, the attack was done from the air. Palestinian military reported that the attack was east of the  Al-Bureij refugee camp.

A balloon-borne incendiary device sent from Gaza started a fire Tuesday in the Kissufim Forest near the Gaza border. The fire was fairly small and was put out quickly. The incendiary balloon comes a few days after Hamas approved a renewal of these attacks in light of stalled talks on lifting the closure of the Gaza Strip.

A senior Hamas political official told Haaretz that the organization did not want to go “all out” against Israel, so as to allow Egyptian-mediated talks to continue. However, Hamas said that Israel has been trying to impose quiet on the Strip by means of Qatari money, and senior Hamas officials said recently that the organization would not stop the protests at the border fence in exchange for the money.

>> Qatari money calms Hamas, but doesn't guarantee long-term quiet in Gaza | Analysis

Senior Hamas official Fathi Hamad said on Tuesday at a rally on Gaza’s northern beach that the continued closure on Gaza would lead to “an explosion.” He said that the Palestinians would break through the border fence if Israel did not go back to implementing understandings meant to lead to quiet. “Our patience is waning and the tools of the marches of return are escalating every week,” he said.

The chairman of the western Negev’s Eshkol Regional Council, Gadi Yarkoni, called on Knesset members to act. “The communities of the Gaza border are part of Israel. At this time, with candidates for the Knesset expressing themselves, tweeting, holding parlor meetings and rallies and asking for our vote, I call on voters, on all Israelis: Ask them – what is your policy for Gaza and against the balloon terror? Because the Gaza border area is Israel. Today it’s here and tomorrow it will be where you are.”

Late last year Hamas activists began to send incendiary devices attached to balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip into Israel, starting numerous fires and leading to losses of cultivated fields and natural open spaces. Some of the balloons and kites landed in kindergartens near the Gaza Strip. In response to the balloons and kites and to criticism by Gaza border area residents, the IDF has begun to attack targets in the Strip.