JERUSALEM (AP) – Incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip on Sunday sparked at least three fires in southern Israel, Israeli media reported, citing the possibility of a resumption of Israeli strikes in Israeli-ruled territory. Hamas.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed Hamas-linked activists throwing the balloons. On one of them was written the message: “Time is running out.
The launches came two months after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. The Islamic militant group is upset that Israel has done little to ease the crippling blockade of the territory since the end of the fighting and the delays in indirect negotiations with Israel to resume Qatari financial aid to Gaza.
Israeli media reported at least three fires in southern Israel, shattering a three-week lull in incendiary balloon launches.
In an initial response, COGAT, the Israeli defense body that oversees Palestinian civil affairs, announced that Israel was halving the fishing zone for Gaza fishermen from 12 nautical miles to six nautical miles. Reducing the fishing area is a common Israeli response to gunfire emanating from Gaza.
New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett likened balloon launches to rocket fire and ordered airstrikes after previous launches.