Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
A ball of fire and smoke rises during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, August 16, 2020.

The IDF reported that fighter jets and aircraft attacked Hamas’ underground infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday, is in response to the launching of incendiary balloons with explosives from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

Firefighters in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday put out 29 fires caused by incendiary balloons. Those were mainly small fires in empty thorn fields in the Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol and Merhavim regional councils.

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A balloon carrying an explosive device landed on a basketball court in Netivot and exploded on Tuesday. Israeli boys who were playing on the court were not injured.

Two large explosive devices launched from Gaza using balloons were found in a Moshav Patish near Ofakim.

Police sappers neutralized an explosive device that detached from a bundle of balloons and fell in an open area near a settlement in the Eshkol Regional Council.

The attacks came after a report Tuesday night suggested Israel decided to reduce the intensity of its attacks in Gaza in order to give the Qatari mediator a chance to calm things down in the Strip. Security sources voiced their concern that if the mediator fails to bring calm, the IDF attacks will intensify, and the IDF may attack balloon launch squads.

Now there’s a revolutionary idea: attacks the terrorists instead of their dunes. In the two rounds of incendiary balloons of 2018–2019, the Air Force attacked several squads directly with proven results: 100% of the killed terrorists suspended their balloon launches. For some reason this round has not seen a repeat of this practical – and cheap – approach to warfare.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Qatari mediator met with an Israeli official, and then, according to Arab reports, entered Gaza.

The UN envoy to the region, Nickolay Mladenov, said that the UN had asked Israel to renew the entry of Qatari fuel into the Gaza Strip, in order to prevent a health crisis due to the exposure of the first coronavirus patients inside the Gaza Strip. He said this in a speech at the Security Council meeting. Israel stopped the entry of fuels into the Gaza Strip about two weeks ago in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza.

Perhaps someone should start launching incendiary balloons at the UN building on First Avenue.

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that Qatar had agreed in principle to Hamas’ demand for an increase in its donations, as well as for funding and operating other projects Hamas is demanding, such as laying a new power line in Gaza.

Al-Arabiya reported that the Qatari envoy, Muhammad al-Amadi, who entered Gaza Tuesday night, informed Hamas that Israel had agreed to renew the import of fuel into the Gaza Strip. Al-Amadi also reportedly informed Hamas that Israel had agreed to ease the siege on Gaza on the condition that Hamas pledge to stop burning and exploding stuff in Israeli territory.

So, to summarize: crime pays, violent crime pays $40 million a month. Yes, according to Arab news sources, Qatar promised Hamas to increase its monthly cash donation from $25 million to $40 million this month, and continue these payments through March.

Israel is hoping that increasing the aid and providing the fuels would help gradually curb the tensions and escalation on the southern border.

Killing those balloon squads would have been so much cheaper and the results won’t have come “gradually.”

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