Photo Credit: Majid Fathi / TPS
Terrorists in Gaza launch incendiary arson balloons into Israel, June 15 2021

In a clear violation of the recent ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, more than two dozen incendiary balloons were launched by Gaza terrorists Tuesday across the border into Israel.

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Local sources reported at least 25 fires that were started in various agricultural and other fields as the incendiary balloons landed, in the Eshkol Regional Council, the Be’eri Forest and in Sha’ar HaNegev.

The terrorists used Tuesday afternoon’s impending Jerusalem Flag Dance parade as the excuse for their myriad threats and attacks.

Firefighters were battling a blaze in Kibbutz Re’em for nearly three hours while marchers were singing and dancing their way down the streets of Jerusalem and into the Old City. Firefighters from the regional Fire and Rescue Department, from Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the south, and the IDF worked with local residents to extinguish the fire, but had trouble getting control over the flames, according to Israel’s Channel 20 News outlet.

Two of the balloons launched by Gaza arson terrorists were connected to homemade bombs and exploded over a town in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district at around 6:30 pm local time as well.

Just prior to the start of the parade, one fire was also reported in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood. The cause is under investigation.

By midday Tuesday, farmers in Israeli communities near the Gaza border had already had to contend with 10 different fires that broke out in their fields and near their farms.

By late afternoon, Israeli residents and security personnel were working to extinguish 18 fires that were set by Gaza arson terrorists via their incendiary balloons.

Dozens of Gaza terrorists also clashed with Israel Defense Forces along the border in advance of the Flag Dance parade, which moves through the Old City of Jerusalem before concluding with a celebration at the Western Wall.

IDF troops fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at the rioters to disperse the mob. One Gaza rioter was shot in the leg during the clashes; he was evacuated in good condition, according to Arab media. Four other rioters were injured as well, according to Arab reports.

The “Joint Operations Room” in Gaza released a statement saying, “The crimes of the occupation will not go unanswered and we are ready with actions” in response to the clashes at the Damascus Gate.

Last month, at the conclusion of Operation Guardian of the Walls — the mini war between Israel and Hamas — Israeli government officials warned that if aggression resumes against Israel, the violence would be met with a “new level of force.”

At the time, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, “If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong.”

Netanyahu warned that Israel will respond with “a new level of force against any expression of aggression against communities around Gaza and in any other part of Israel.”

Netanyahu is no longer in power. Bennett has taken his place. Will the current Israeli government back up the previous prime minister’s words?

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.