07/02/2021, 14.19
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Gaza, new Israeli raids in response to the launch of incendiary balloons

The fighters hit a Hamas weapons factory. Balloons had left the Strip that had caused four fires - immediately extinguished - in southern Israel. The immediate military response to the launch marks a turning point between the Netanyahu government and the current one. In the past, Bennett had asked to equate balloons with missiles.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After two weeks of relative calm, this morning there were new air strikes by Israeli fighters on Gaza in response to the launch, yesterday afternoon, of incendiary balloons from the Strip towards the south of Israel.

The memory of the last lightning conflict in May, which caused hundreds of victims, including children, is still alive in the area and the fear is that the tension between the parties could trigger a new escalation.

In mid-June, a similar episode occurred in conjunction with the visit of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa to the Palestinian enclave, but these were targeted operations that had no further military follow-up.

Local sources report that in the early hours of the morning Israeli fighters hit an arms factory of Hamas, which governs the Strip; previously, balloons had left Gaza that had caused at least four different fires - without causing damage - in different areas in southern Israel, along the border.

According to the Israeli army, the target site of the raid was used by the extremist organization to build and develop weapons. The military, explains a statement, "will respond with determination against all attempts at terror from Gaza".

At the moment there are no official confirmations of victims or injured. Analysts and experts point out that the immediate operation in response to the balloon launch could already indicate a first change in the government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, compared to his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu. Several times, in fact, the previous executive had chosen not to fight back, to avoid raising the tension along the southern border.

In the past three years, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, mostly linked to Hamas and other terrorist groups, have launched thousands of incendiary and explosive devices in southern Israel, causing extensive fires and significant damage to agricultural fields, nature reserves and property. private. Hamas uses this technique as a means of lobbying Israel to contribute to the reconstruction work in the Strip. Bennett, who replaced Netanyahu on June 13, had repeatedly called for a harsher and more decisive response to the launches, saying they should be treated in the same way as rockets.

In 2018, the current prime minister - then Minister of Education - had asked the army to kill those who launched balloons from Gaza, finding the opposition of the then head of the Israeli Armed Forces Gadi Eisenkot.

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