Israel Deprives Gaza of Essential Fuel Over ‘Terrorist Balloons’

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2020

Israel on Thursday said it will stop shipments of fuel into Gaza in response to Palestinians in the enclave launching incendiary balloons that have torched tracts of farmland on the Israeli frontier.

Israeli warplanes and tanks struck overnight in the fourth military attack over the past week, causing no reported casualties Thursday but leaving one unexploded missile inside a UN-run school's compound in Gaza's Shati refugee camp.

At first Israeli security officials thought that the balloons had been launched independently by small groups unaffiliated with Hamas.

The office of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that the decision was made in light of the launching of incendiary balloons from the Strip toward Israeli territories, adding, "Hamas is accountable for all that is done in the Gaza Strip, as well as for actions launched from Gaza against Israel". Sometimes kites are used in the makeshift attacks. Firefighters have been putting out the flames and no casualties, or even injuries, have been reported.

Israel captured Gaza from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War, but unilaterally pulled out its army and evacuated its settlements in the Strip in 2005.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said explosive balloons continued to be launched from Gaza into Israel, causing fires on land across Southern Israel.

Gaza-based media said that airstrikes early Thursday were the most intense response by Israel in the most recent bout of tit-for-tat fire.

On Wednesday, Israel already reduced the fishing zone of the Gaza Strip from 15 nautical miles (some 28 kilometres) to 8 (some 15 kilometres), immediately until further notice.

Palestinian analysts say fire from Gaza often aims to pressure Israel to give the green light for the transfer of Qatari financial aid into the Strip.

While Israel's Iron Dome defence system was capable of intercepting projectiles fired from Gaza, balloons and kites rigged with explosives have proved a different challenge.

In 2018, amid weeks of sporadic clashes along the Israel-Gaza border during the so-called Great March of Return protests, Israel suspended the import of fuel multiple times.

According to Al-Hadath news website, Kan said that the late Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, who served from 1963-1969, laid down the bases of this plan.

Other reports by iNewsToday