Monday, June 25, 2018

IDF: Hamas Behind Gaza 'Fire Kite' Attacks

IDF accuses Hamas of being behind Gaza 'fire kite' attacks

The Israeli army on Sunday accused the Hamas terror group of directing ongoing airborne arson attacks from the Gaza Strip, identifying key figures suspected of being responsible for the project and sharing a video that it said showed incendiary balloons being prepared near a Hamas position.
“Hamas is leading this phenomenon of explosive and incendiary kites, it is behind the launching of them and it will bear the responsibility of this terrorist activity,” the army said.
As evidence, the military released a video (above), filmed from its surveillance cameras, showing masked operatives taking balloons from what the IDF said was a Hamas observation post and walking toward the border, presumably to launch them at southern Israel.

For the past several weeks, dozens of incendiary kites and balloons have been regularly flown into Israel each day. They have sparked hundreds of fires that have burned thousands of acres of agricultural fields, grassland and forests, and caused millions of shekels in damage.

The army said the efforts to launch the incendiary and explosive devices were being directed by Hamas regional commanders. Some of the materials used to make the kites and balloons are also coming from Hamas positions, according to the IDF.

The military released the names and photographs of four men that it accused of being leaders in the arson attacks: Bassem Hatem Abd Hazin, Mutasim Fathi Atia Nabahin, Muhana Ibrahim Abd Hamdan and Amro Hussein Muhammad Abu Deif.

By identifying the men, the IDF was sending a tacit threat both to them and to the Hamas organization in general, with the implication that the military could target them for assassination.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has been an adamant advocate of shooting-to-kill the launchers of such kites and balloons, said the army’s claims that Hamas was behind the arson attacks was further proof that lethal force was necessary and justified.
“Another piece of evidence that we should shoot at these terrorists launching terror kites and explosive balloons in order to thwart the threat to life that they create,” he wrote on Twitter, linking to the video released by the military.
“The IDF is working with increasing force against these terror cells — by shooting near them — against the terrorist infrastructure that belongs to them, and against Hamas targets deep in the Gaza Strip,” the army said. “We will not allow this terror to be a threat to the citizens of Israel and its land.”

The IDF has twice conducted predawn airstrikes against Hamas targets in response to extensive airborne arson attacks. In both cases, the terror group and its ally the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad have retaliated to the air raids by launching rockets or mortar shells at Israel.

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