Third Day of 'Cease-fire': IDF Strikes Gaza as Flaming Balloon Hits Israeli Kindergarten

Palestinians report two wounded; Netanyahu: We are in the midst of a campaign

The kindergarten where the incendiary balloon fell, July 17, 2018

The Israeli military and Palestinian fighters in Gaza traded fire on Tuesday, three days after after a cease-fire momentarily halted the most widespread escalation of fighting since the 2014 war.

An Israeli army aircraft targeted a Palestinian group launching incendiary balloons toward Israeli territory from east Gaza, reportedly wounded two Palestinians. No word on their condition was immediately available.

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Also on Tuesday, an incendiary balloon launched from Gaza landed in kindergarten in an Israeli community near the Gaza border. Children were reported to be in the courtyard at the time though no casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, Israeli fire-fighters were deling with 17 fires caused by incendiary balloons launched from Gaza, a spokesperson said.

The exchange of fire followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's meeting with Israeli security officials on the border.

"We are in the midst of a campaign, there's an exchange of blows and I can tell you the Israel Defense Forces are ready for any scenario," Netanyahu said. Lieberman echoed the prime minister, saying that "if we have to set out on a war, we will be able to bring down any enemy. We will determine the rules of the game, no one else will."

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman and National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat were among the participants in the security assessment.

Representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are continuing to pursue contacts with Egyptian intelligence officials to resolve the ongoing hostilities.

The formula they propose would bring an end to the incendiary kites and balloons that are being flown from Gaza across the border into Israel – in return for easing of the blockade that Israel and Egypt have imposed on the Strip.

Egyptian and Palestinian sources told Haaretz that Hamas is inclined to accept an agreement calling for a halt to the launching of the incendiary devices in exchange for Israel revoking its decision this week to stop fuel shipments into the Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through Sunday.

Such an agreement would also involve the opening of the Egyptian border crossing with Gaza at Rafah on a regular basis, as well as additional steps that Hamas is demanding