Suspected Arson Balloons Spark Fires In South After Israel Shuts Gaza Crossings

Categories: Incitement

At least two fires were ignited in southern Israel by suspected airborne incendiary devices launched from Gaza Tuesday, a day after Israel saw a rash of suspected arson attacks from the Palestinian enclave.

There were no reports of injuries from the fires, near Kibbutz Erez and Kibbutz Or HaNer, just a few kilometers north of the Strip.

The blazes came hours after Israel shut the Gaza Strip’s Kerem Shalom commercial crossing into Gaza “until further notice,” in response to a sharp uptick in launches of incendiary balloons.

Leaders of communities near the Palestinian enclave have demanded the government and military take action to stem the launches.

“We have no deterrence against Gaza. A Palestinian who wants to launch a balloon ought to think 100 times before doing so but he does not think even once because he knows there won’t be a firm reaction,” said Ofer Lieberman, the agriculture director at Kibbutz Nir Am, also near the Gaza frontier.

Israel has in the past launched air strikes against suspected balloon launchers, though the military, already dealing with a threat on the northern border, appears to be wary of allowing violence on the Gaza border to snowball.

The practice of launching balloon-borne incendiary and explosive devices from the Gaza Strip toward Israel has waxed and waned over the past two years, with an uptick since the end of last week.

Read More: Times of Israel