Incendiary Balloons Ignite Fires in Israel, as Violent Hamas-Led Riots Continue on Border

Two fires ignited by incendiary balloons broke out in southern Israel, as 12,000 Gazans participated in violent Hamas-led riots at the border with Israel, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

According to the army, the rioters burned tires and threw rocks at Israeli soldiers. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claimed that two people were killed.

Israeli troops discovered an improvised explosive device (IED) on the border fence with Gaza. They detonated the explosive remotely. It was the second IED discovered by the IDF at the border fence in two days.

“Hamas continues to try to harm defensive infrastructure and security forces in the security fence area, while using residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields and as cover for terrorist activities,” the IDF said in a statement.

In addition to the fires, which were brought under control by firefighters, an airborne explosive device landed near a playground in Kiryat Gat, in southern Israel.

According to the authorities, “Police forces, including a police sapper, were called to the scene and took care of the suspicious object and removed all danger.”

Hamas-led weekly rioting near the border with Israel resumed last week, after the Trump administration cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The agency failed to reform in response to earlier aid cuts.

Earlier this month, Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar acknowledged that the terror group’s impetus for orchestrating the violent riots was to divert attention from internal Palestinian conflicts.

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]