The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fired on a Hamas post in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, February 20, in retaliation for an incendiary balloon launched into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday, February 19. The incendiary balloon, the first launched toward Israel from Gaza since November 2018, reportedly started a small fire in the Kissufim Forest (near the Israeli-Gazan border) before authorities extinguished it. Similar exchanges are possible over the Israeli-Gazan border over the coming days and weeks.
The exchange notably comes after Hamas sanctioned a renewal of incendiary balloon attacks amid fizzling Egyptian-mediated negotiations to lift the Gaza Strip blockade, in place since 2007. On a related note, Palestinian protesters have rallied at the Gaza border fence since March 30, 2018, in a Hamas-supported movement dubbed "The Great March of Return." Over 240 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed in associated clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters.
Individuals in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all protests and demonstrations due to the risk of violence. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
Copyright and Disclaimer