An Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a Hamas outpost in the Gaza Strip Wednesday evening in response to several incendiary aerial devices launched from the coastal enclave towards southern Israel.
There were no injuries reported in the strike, which took place east of the el-Bureij refugee camp during the nightly riots along the Gaza-Israel security fence. The Palestinian WAFA news agency said that the drone targeted a motorcycle and a field in the central Gaza Strip, causing damage but no injuries.
Parents in Israel have to warn their children to stay away from balloons because Gazans launch them into Israel with explosives attached to them. Just like they did today with these. pic.twitter.com/9BZMLvQK5G— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) In response, IDF aircraft struck a Hamas military post. February 20, 2019
Earlier on Wednesday, a balloon carrying an incendiary device started a fire in an agricultural area near the community of Kissufim after it landed in a field. The fire was small and was quickly put out by rescue services.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Wednesday visited the Gaza Division and met with the head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi as well as head of the Gaza Division Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano And other officers. Kochavi also toured several key points along the border and conducted a situational assessment with commanders in the area.
Also on Wednesday, another incendiary balloon exploded in the air over southern Israel.
The Palestinian “night confusion units” resumed along the fence earlier this month after several months of quiet, with rioters setting fires, hurling explosive devices, shining lasers at troops across the border to blind them and attempting to infiltrate into Israel.
According to the IDF, some 250 Palestinians took part in the protests in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, throwing stones and improvised explosive devices as well as setting fire to tires and rolling them towards IDF troops stationed along the fence, who responded by riot control means including live fire.
Two Palestinians were also identified as trying to breach the border fence after placing a burning tire near it. The military said that they immediately returned to the Strip.
The night riots along the Gaza border are led by a Hamas special night force unit of older terrorists who lead more violent riots than seen at the weekly daytime Friday protests. The combination of darkness, risk of infiltration attempts and extreme violence has led the IDF to order an increased use of live fire against such demonstrators.
On Sunday, an IDF soldier was moderately wounded after an IED thrown at troops during the night clashes exploded next to him. Identified as Yoadd Zaguri, an infantryman in the Nahal Brigade originally from Los Angeles, he was hospitalized for shrapnel wounds to his neck.
Two days earlier, a Border Police officer was lightly wounded in the leg from shrapnel from another IED thrown at troops.
Protesters also blast music and prayers through loudspeakers – and while most explosive devices are set off far from the fence, they are aimed at Israeli civilians and soldiers nearby to harass them and sow fear.
Kochavi, who was sworn in last month as the military’s top officer, has prioritized the southern front as one which could explode into war at any moment, following the IDF’s military intelligence assessment for 2019.