In the early hours of July 2nd, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck an alleged Hamas ‘weapons manufacturing site’ in Gaza, in response to alleged incendiary balloons being launched toward Israeli territory.
In response to the arson balloons launched from Gaza toward Israel today, IDF fighter jets struck a weapons manufacturing site used to research and develop weapons belonging to Hamas tonight.
The IDF will respond firmly against terror attempts from Gaza.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) July 1, 2021
The IDF said the site was used by Hamas to develop and build weapons.
“The strike was carried out in response to the arson balloon attacks on Israeli territory. The IDF will respond with determination against all terror attempts from the Gaza Strip,” the army said.
The incendiary balloons launched from Gaza on July 1st sparked four fires near Israeli towns along the southern border, breaking more than two weeks of quiet since the last wave of arson attacks.
Most of the fires were small and not dangerous, according to the Fire and Rescue Services, which said that its respondents quickly managed to gain control of the blazes in the Eshkol Regional Council before significant damage was caused.
In June, arson balloons launched by Hamas operatives caused some 20 fires in Israeli communities in the Gaza periphery. IDF planes struck a wide range of Hamas military targets throughout the Strip, responding to the attacks in less than a day.
שוב בלוני תבערה בעוטף: בשעה האחרונה פעלו צוותי כבאות והצלה יחד עם צוותי קק"ל ב-4 שריפות במספר מוקדים בתחום מועצה אזורית אשכול. חוקר שריפות מכבאות והצלה לישראל מחוז דרום קבע כי כל השריפות נגרמו מבלוני תבערה.
צילום: משה ברוכי, סייר ביערות קק״ל@anataev pic.twitter.com/wvvb5XcPX5
— רדיו דרום (@radiodarom97) July 1, 2021
June’s arson balloons and counterstrikes were the first since the 11-day war that Israel fought against Gaza terror groups in May. They took place amid Israel’s decision to allow far-right activists to proceed with flag march through the Old City of Jerusalem, which Palestinian groups branded as a provocation.
According to Israeli media, the response by the new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett indicated a shift in policy from the previous one, which did not always respond to arson balloon attacks with airstrikes (it only responded in roughly 99% of occasions). Or it allegedly “wouldn’t do so as quickly or as forcibly, in order to avoid escalation along the southern border.”
Hamas has used the launching of incendiary devices in order to keep pressure on Israel to move along with reconstruction efforts in the Strip.
This is also likely in protest of the 31 new settlement construction projects that the Israeli government approved and plans to implement.
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