IDF tanks targeted military positions belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning in response to the continued launch of incendiary and explosive balloons from the Strip, according to the IDF Spokespersons Unit.At least 25 fires were sparked by incendiary balloons on Saturday. A number of explosive balloons landed throughout southern Israel and were handled by police sappers.On Saturday night, the head of Hamas's political bureau Ismail Haniyeh warned that the terrorist movement intended to completely end economic restrictions on the Gaza Strip.
"We announce with the utmost clarity that our decision and the decision of our people is to proceed with ending this unjust blockade in all its forms," said Haniyeh in a press release.
The Hamas leader stressed that the movement is still conducting talks through Egyptian and Qatari mediation in an effort to achieve their demands.
Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi met Saturday with Israeli security officials in an attempt to quell the escalating violence between the IDF and Hamas, a source confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.
The Qatari envoy entered the Strip last week to speak with Hamas leaders in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, and continued to mediate efforts between Israel and Hamas throughout the week.
A source from terrorist groups in the Strip told the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news that the talks have failed as Israel insists on adhering to a "calm in return for calm" equation, while the terrorist groups insist on restrictions on Gaza being lifted. Despite the claims, mediation efforts have continued.
Haniyeh called on UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov to stand by the people of Gaza and "force Israel to end the suffering" of the people in the coastal enclave.
Mladenov took to twitter on Friday to warn that an escalation in Gaza is imminent unless both Israelis and Hamas exercise restraint and pull back from the brink.
“I am VERY concerned that escalation is imminent,” he tweeted.
Former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal also spoke on Saturday evening, calling on the international community to stop the restrictions placed on the Gaza Strip and to support Hamas and Gaza residents, according to Palestinian reports.
Meshaal stressed that he was "confident" in the terrorist groups in the coastal enclave and called on the world to "join them in battle."
Terrorist groups in the Strip have demanded that the blockade imposed on Gaza be completely lifted before they agree to a de-escalation deal. Israeli officials have stated that they will consider relaxing some of the economic restrictions on the Strip and will provide humanitarian aid if the balloon launches stop.
On Friday, IDF forces struck targets in the Gaza Strip belonging to the Hamas terrorist group in response to six rockets that were fired from the Strip towards southern Israel on Thursday night.
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip have launched incendiary and explosive balloons towards southern Israel on a daily basis in recent weeks, sparking fires that have burned large swaths of land. A number of rockets have been fired towards the Gaza envelope as well.
The IDF has responded multiple times by striking sites belonging to Hamas and tightening economic restrictions on the coastal enclave.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.