September 19, 2021

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Israel strikes Gaza after firing balloons

First change:

Jerusalem (AFP)

Israel launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday in retaliation for inflating balloons from a Palestinian base into its territory, leaving no casualties on either side.

Palestinian security sources told the AFP that the attacks targeted an open area in northern Gaza and a training base for the ruling Islamist Hamas movement in Khan Younis.

The attacks came after Israel halved the authorized fishing zone in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military commission in charge of civil affairs in the Palestinian territories (Gokat) said in a statement that the fishing zone had been reduced from 12 nautical miles to six.

“This decision was made in light of the continued inflow of fire balloons into Israel from the Gaza Strip, which is a violation of Israeli sovereignty,” Gogot said.

The agency warned that “Hamas, which is responsible for operations in the Gaza Strip and all actions that appear in the Gaza Strip towards the State of Israel, must bear the consequences of the violence against Israel.”

Hours earlier, Israeli firefighters said they had set fire to three points in the Eshkol region near the border, which they blamed for the fire balloons fired from Gaza.

Balloons are simple devices designed to start fires in agricultural areas near the Palestinian territory.

On July 12, Israel announced that it was expanding its fishing zone in Gaza and authorizing more imports into the Palestinian territories, but warned that such actions would be reversed if further attacks occurred.

Israel carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza last May, and the Palestinians fired thousands of rockets at Israel during the 11-day conflict.

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Prior to that May clash, the fishing zone was 15 nautical miles, but Israel reduced it in the middle of the fighting.