IDF strikes Hamas terror targets in Gaza in response to explosive balloons

The attacks are in response to the launching of incendiary balloons into Israel from Gaza over the past several days.

Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)
Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)
Israeli fighter jets, helicopters and tanks attacked Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. The attacks targeted a military compound, underground infrastructure and observation posts.
They were carried out in response to the launching of incendiary balloons into Israel from Gaza over the past several days.
“The IDF considers all terrorist activity against Israeli territory to be very serious and will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli citizens,” the IDF said. “The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens.”
The terrorist balloon units on Wednesday warned they would continue to launch incendiary and explosive balloons in response to the IDF strikes.
During the strikes, a missile that was fired from an IDF helicopter toward Gaza fell next to a cowshed in a town in the Eshkol Regional Council in the South. It did not explode, and sappers arrived at the scene to deal with it. The cowshed was slightly damaged. The IAF is investigating the incident.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both warned Hamas that Israel would respond if incendiary balloons were launched into Israel.
“In the South, Hamas is continuing to enable explosive balloon attacks to be launched into the State of Israel,” Gantz said during a tour of Home Front Command. “We are not prepared to accept that and have closed the Kerem Shalom border crossing as a result.”
“They would do well to stop violating Israel’s safety and security,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, we will need to respond, and forcefully.”
“There will be a heavy price to the balloon terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “We will act and exact a heavy price. We’ve done it in the past. Remember that, because we will do it again now. Hamas and Islamic Jihad will see the harsh results of these calamities.”

Anna Ahronheim, Lahav Harkov and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.