WORLD / MID-EAST
Israel strikes Gaza after incendiary balloon fires
Published: Jul 26, 2021 05:33 PM
A Palestinian walks over the rubble accumulated in Gaza, following the cease-fire agreement between Gaza and Israel on Sunday. Photo: VCG

A Palestinian walks over the rubble accumulated in Gaza, following the cease-fire agreement between Gaza and Israel on Sunday. Photo: VCG

Israel hit Gaza with air strikes on Sunday after incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave caused fires in the Jewish state, with no reported injuries on either side. 

The Israeli strikes targeted an open area in northern Gaza and a militant training site belonging to the strip's Hamas Islamist rulers in southern Khan Yunis, Palestinian security sources told AFP. 

The strikes came after Israel cut by half the fishing zone off the blockaded coastal territory, a common response following projectile attacks by armed groups in Gaza.  

Israel's army had no immediate comment on the strikes. 

But the military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories (COGAT) said the fishing zone had been reduced from 12 nautical miles to six. 

"The decision was made following the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, which constitutes a violation of Israeli sovereignty," it said in a statement. 

Hamas was "responsible for all activities within the Gaza Strip and all actions originating in the Gaza Strip directed towards the state of Israel," COGAT said. "It will therefore bear the consequences for the violence committed against the citizens of the state of Israel."

Earlier Sunday, Israeli firefighters said they extinguished brush blazes at three spots in the Eshkol region near the border, blaming "incendiary balloons" as the cause. 

The balloons are basic devices intended to set fire to farmland surrounding the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave.

The last time balloons from Gaza caused a fire in Israel was early July.


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