(July 23, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Israeli aircraft targeted a terror cell in northern Gaza on Sunday after it had launched firebomb balloons into Israeli territory.
According to Palestinian reports, six people were wounded in the Israeli strike, two of them critically.
Earlier on Sunday, incendiary devices launched from Gaza caused two brush fires in Israeli territory. An incendiary balloon that didn’t cause any damage was also found in an open area near a community in the Eshkol region in southern Israel.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, meanwhile, visited the spot where Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi was shot and killed on Friday at the Gaza border. Eizenkot held a briefing with GOC Southern Command, the commander of the Gaza Division and other high-ranking officers in the sector.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also toured the Gaza border on Sunday and participated in security assessments at the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
He said that Israel will reopen the crossing—Gaza’s main commercial crossing—and expand Gaza’s fishing permits on Tuesday if the lull in cross-border tensions continues to hold.
“The key is zero incendiary balloons, zero friction on the fence and zero rockets or shootings. The residents of Gaza need to understand that as long as there are incendiary balloons and fires on our side, on their side too life won’t return to normal,” added Lieberman.
Israel shut the Kerem Shalom border terminal and reduced the fishing zone to 11 kilometers (6 miles) from 17 kilometers (9 miles) on July 9 in response to incendiary kites and balloons launched over the border to start fires in Israel as part of weeks of border protests.
“If today and tomorrow see a continuation of the situation as it was yesterday, then on Tuesday we will resume routine activity here at Kerem Shalom [border terminal] and return the fishing zone to the ranges previously in place,” said Lieberman.
It was not clear whether Sunday’s balloon launch would foil the defense minister’s plan to reopen the crossing.
During the terminal’s closure, humanitarian aid was still allowed, although Lieberman said traffic slowed to about 140 trucks a day from some 1,000 to 1,100 trucks per day.