Israel attacked Sunday night in the north and south of the Gaza Strip, according to local Arab sources. The reports cited unmanned aerial vehicles that attacked sites used by Hamas, including a compound east of Khan Yunis and another site in northwestern Gaza. The IDF spokesman’s version of the events included fighter jets that attacked a Hamas military camp and infrastructure located near civilian buildings, including a school.
The attack came in retaliation for four fires that had been ignited by incendiary balloons from Gaza in the Israeli Gaza Envelope communities earlier. The fires broke out in the Kissufim forest and the kibbutz’s avocado orchard, after more than a three-week hiatus. JNF firefighters took control of the blaze.
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A fire department investigator determined that the fires had been caused by incendiary balloons.
In response, the IDF decided to reduce the fishing area for Gaza Strip fishermen from 12 to 6 nautical miles. Before operation Guardians of the Wall, the fishing area for the Strip extended to 15 nautical miles.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza Hazem Qassem announced that “the attack will not stop the resistance from restoring the rights of the Palestinian people and the Palestinians will continue to fight to gain their right to live with dignity. We will not allow the enemy to impose its equations.” By which he was referring to the fact that the Israeli government continues to resist the renewal of cash payments from Qatar to the tune of some $30 million a month. No money has entered the Strip since before Guardians of the Wall, and Israel maintains that the ritual of moving suitcases full of cash into Gaza will not continue. Israel wants an arrangement through the banks in Ramallah and Gaza, which would mean Hamas cannot receive the money, seeing as it is recognized as a terrorist organization and the banks that would deal with it directly would be banned from doing business with the US and Europe.
Israel also insists that any future progress in negotiations with Hamas would depend on the return of the bodies of two Israeli MIAs and two living Israeli citizens who strayed into Gaza. Hamas insists that the release of the two dead and two living Israelis must be accompanied by a prisoners’ release on Israel’s part. So it’s a standoff.