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Israel's air force strikes Hamas squad in Gaza

15 Jul 2018, 23:07 ( 10 Months ago)

DF-Xnhua Report
File Photo Xinhua.

Israel's military said on Sunday it had struck Hamas militants in Gaza who were sending incendiary balloons towards Israel.

"An IDF (Israel Defense Forces) aircraft targeted a Hamas squad that was launching arson balloons from the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory," a military spokesperson said in a statement.

Earlier on Sunday, at least three helium-filled balloons were sent from Gaza, sparking fires in fields into southern Israel.

Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Hamas Sunday that Israel will react forcibly to a continuation of incendiary balloons.

Gaza officials said that as part of a fragile ceasefire agreement achieved on Saturday to end a two-day deadly flare-up, the frequency of the burning balloons will gradually decrease, according to Israeli media. 

The escalation came amidst weekly rallies near the fence separating between Israel and the Palestinian enclave. The mostly-peaceful demonstrators protested the crippling blockade imposed by Israel in 2007.

Gaza militants have sent burning kites and helium-filled balloons, which set fires in southern Israel's arid farmlands. At least 32,000 dunams (32 square kilometers) of farmland and forest have been consumed by the kites.