Friday, August 12th | 16 Av 5782

August 9, 2020 7:19 pm

Israeli Security Establishment Prepared to Retaliate Against Incendiary Balloon Attacks, Even at Cost of Escalation

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launch balloons loaded with flammable material toward Israel. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

The Israeli security establishment has signaled that it is prepared to retaliate strongly against continuing incendiary balloon attacks on the country’s southern region, even if it means escalation.

According to Israeli news website N12, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi met Sunday and concluded that Israel will not permit the normalization of balloon attacks, and that they are prepared to initiate a significant response.

Gantz tweeted on Friday, “The State of Israel will not accept any violation of sovereignty and harm to the residents of the south. … If the terror organizations haven’t understood it yet: Whoever puts Israel to the test will be severely harmed.”

The use of balloons to carry incendiary or explosive material by Gaza terrorists was frequent last summer, but as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, it all but completely stopped. Over the last few days, however, they have resumed in significant numbers, setting fires over the weekend as well as on Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, shots were fired at civilian workers and IDF soldiers at the Gaza border fence. No one was injured.

At the moment, N12 reported, Gaza’s various terror factions are in disarray, with no overriding strategy of escalation or restraint, making the situation extremely unpredictable.

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