Photo Credit: Flash 90
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire in the Simhoni forest caused by incendiary balloons launched by Gaza terrorists into southern Israel. June 15, 2021.

Gaza arson terrorists continued their attacks on southern Israel on Wednesday, igniting at least 10 fires on Wednesday for the second straight day this week.

The fires were set off by incendiary balloons that were flown into Israel from Gaza, said the southern region Fire and Rescue Services Authority.

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All of the fires blazed in open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council district, firefighters said.

More than 26 fires were started Tuesday in southern Israel by Gaza arson terrorists’ balloons, according to the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) and Jewish National Fund (JNF).

Some of the balloons were attached to homemade bombs. Others were attached to flaming Molotov cocktails (also known as “firebombs”).

Ofer Liberman, a farmer from a kibbutz located near the Gaza border told Ynet that Tuesday’s fires burnt acres of wheat fields, tangerine and lemon orchards. Ashes in the field behind him were still smoldering as he spoke with the news outlet.

In addition, an explosive device attached to a terror balloon exploded in mid-air above a kindergarten in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district.

Liberman said residents in the area are still tense in the aftermath of Israel’s miniwar with Hamas last month. “Wwe are the first to absorb the Hamas’ response as soon as something happens elsewhere, like the flag parade in Jerusalem,” he told Ynet.

“If Hamas decides to violate Israeli sovereignty, the state should respond in such a way that would make them afraid to do it again,” he added.

Late Tuesday night and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Israeli Defense Forces struck Hamas positions in Khan Younis and Gaza City in response to the arson attacks. The military compounds, used as meeting sites for Hamas terror operatives, were empty at the time of the attack.

After a ceasefire was arranged between Israel and Hamas, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a joint news conference that if the Iranian-backed terror group breaks the “calm” and attacks Israel, the response will be “very powerful.”

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

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who continued in that role following the recent elections, also warned Hamas that if it chooses to “prevent the rehabilitation of Gaza … and to harm Israeli citizens, we will take action until we reach a calm that will serve us all. There is no other way.”

Given the continuation of arson terror attacks from Gaza on Wednesday despite the IDF “response” to its attacks on Tuesday — and the significant damage to the livelihoods of more than a dozen farmers in southern Israel — it would appear the new Bennett-Lapid government is more concerned about Hamas and its international protectors than it is about the well-being of its own citizens along the Gaza border.

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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.