Report: Hamas Using Incendiary Balloon Attacks to Signal Willingness to Escalate Conflict With Israel
Hamas is reportedly using Sunday’s incendiary balloon attacks on southern Israel as a signal to both Israel and Egypt that if Qatari funds do not begin to flow into the Gaza Strip, it will move forward with further acts of escalation.
According to Israel’s Channel 13, the three fires set Sunday by incendiary balloons, followed by retaliatory IDF air strikes on Hamas targets, are part of a general campaign by Hamas to endanger the ceasefire with Israel that has held since the two parties’ 11-day conflict in May.
Hamas’ goal is to force Egypt and Israel to facilitate the delivery of millions of dollars in funds donated by the government of Qatar.
Contacts with Israel and Egyptian mediators, Hamas believes, are not heading in a direction the terrorist group desires, while Qatari efforts to find a means of delivering the funds that will assuage Israeli concerns about their use for terrorist activities have thus far failed.
Late Sunday, Israel’s air force struck targets in the Strip in response to the latest balloon attacks. Egypt has since renewed its mediation efforts and is asking Hamas not to escalate the current situation.
On Monday, a member of the terror group’s political bureau, Hussam Badran, stated that if “there is some kind of hesitation and reluctance and the disruption of negotiations to stabilize the ceasefire and lift the siege on Gaza, we will resort, in agreement with the factions in Gaza, to use different mechanisms to pressure the occupation.”