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June 12, 2018 11:57 am

Israeli Defense Minister: Hamas Seizing Helium Supplied to Gaza Hospitals for Use in Incendiary Balloons

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Palestinians prepare to fly a kite loaded with flammable material, near the Israel-Gaza border, June 4, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Hamas has been seizing helium supplied by Israel to hospitals in Gaza and using it to inflate the incendiary balloons it has been sending across the border in recent weeks, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman revealed on Tuesday.

During a visit the IDF’s Gaza Division headquarters, Lieberman said, “We manage to intercept two-thirds of all the kites and balloons, despite the increase in the use of this tool. Hamas is exploiting in the most despicable and cynical manner the medical system of the Gaza Strip. The helium we supply to hospitals, for medical equipment, mainly for MRI use — instead of this helium going to those patients who need MRIs, [Hamas] uses it…to set fields on fire here in the south.”

In a message to Gaza residents, Lieberman said, “You have become hostages of the Hamas government. You can build a much better future for your children. You can have all the humanitarian, economic, and civil aid, but first you must topple the Hamas regime.”

“As long as the Hamas regime endures, unfortunately, the chance for coexistence, for cooperation, for a better future for Gazans, simply does not exist,” he continued.

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Later on Tuesday, Lieberman ordered the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokun to reduce the amount of helium permitted to enter Gaza.

Over the past two months, kite bombs and incendiary balloons flown across the border by terrorists in Hamas-ruled Gaza have caused extensive damage to agricultural fields and forests in southern Israel.

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