Hamas attack on Israel through incendiary balloons

September 5, 2021

On Saturday, Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group established a dozen dangerous balloons into Israel, hoping to increase strain on Israel to lift a crippling blockade of the territory. Videos and photos posted to the internet showed disguised Hamas-affiliated operatives holding photos of Gazans killed in recent confrontations with Israeli forces while launching balloons at Israel.

There have been no reports of fires in southern Israel as of yet. The balloons that have provoked a series of forest fires in recent weeks have been contrasted to rocket fire by Israel’s new government. It frequently responds to the launches by conducting nighttime airstrikes on Hamas targets. In recent weeks, Hamas has also set up a series of violent protests along the Israeli border, demanded an end to the siege, which is also enforced by Gaza’s western neighbor, Egypt.

A Hamas spokesman said in an angry statement that the Gazan people were defined to defend the city and would no longer tolerate the two countries’ incremental loosening of the shutdown. When Hamas took control of the territory in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election, Israel and Egypt placed the blockade. Israel claims the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from bringing weapons into the country. Critics argue that the blockade which severely restricts travel and trade into and out of Gaza is a form of collective punishment.

Since Hamas took over the government, Israel and Hamas have went to fight four wars, the most recent of which lasted 11 days in May. Egypt, which frequently moderates between opposing parties, has been attempting to negotiate a peace a long-term ceasefire since the fighting ceased. Israel has decided to allow Qatar to continue some aid to poverty stricken Gaza families, and on Wednesday Israel started easing the blockade to allow more vendors and key construction materials to enter.

However, with the Gaza economy in disaster, Hamas has demanded far greater overtures from Israel and insisted to increase its actions along the border. Protests have frequently turned to violence in the last two weeks, with one Israeli sniper and three Palestinian protesters, including a Hamas militant, killed in clashes. Hamas has ignored Israel’s efforts to ease the blockade as insufficient, and has again and again planned to keep protesting until the blockade is eased further. Israel has requested that Hamas release two Israeli civilians and return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in a 2014 war.

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