Two hurt as Israel hits Gaza targets over ‘arson balloons’

Cheryl Sanders
August 9, 2018

A member of the Israeli Security Cabinet, Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), referred to the ceasefire talks with Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and said that "an arrangement with the organization is now not on the agenda". "Egypt is no less responsible", Elkin to Israel's Ynet TV in an interview.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier convened his cabinet to possibly approve proposals made by the United Nations (UN) and Egypt for preventing another war on Gaza.

The official statement after the meeting declared the military to be ready for "any scenario", but provided no indication that Israel was either favoring the ceasefire deal or the alternative, with Transportation Minister Israel Katz said was war.

It also attacked "a terrorist squad that was launching arson balloons from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel", the army said in an English-language statement.

However, an Israeli official told Channel 10 on Friday that Israel would not be willing to accept any long-term deal with Hamas that did not include the return of the held Israelis.

Asked about Cairo's role in the truce talks, Zeev Elkin, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet and Likud party, said Egyptian security needs meant the Arab power "understands that it can not shrug off Gaza".

The protests have been marked by clashes as some protesters hurl stones at Israeli soldiers and attempt to breach the border fence, at times laying explosive devices on the fence and using incendiary kites to set ablaze Israeli fields, torching extensive patches of agricultural land near the border. He was referring to Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

According to the Gaza health ministry, 157 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the "March of Return" protests on March 30.

As part of negotiations, several exiled Hamas leaders are in Gaza for consultations. At least 50 of those killed have been identified by Hamas as members of the militant group.

The Fatah movement had warned Hamas of the danger of a unilateral conclusion of the armistice agreement with Israel in exchange for easing the blockade imposed on the Gaza strip.

Other reports by iNewsToday