IDF strikes Gaza after incendiary balloon fire
The IDF struck a number of Hamas-owned military sites in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening in response to 20 fires started by incendiary balloons earlier in the day.
“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios, including the resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terrorist acts from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF spokesman’s unit said in a statement.
# صور اجهات ان وقوات الاحتلال لى السياج الفاصل قطاع بالتزامن مع الأعلام للمستوطنين في القدس المحتلة. pic.twitter.com/Q4JgBzNC09
– الة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) June 15, 2021
On Tuesday evening, Defense Minister Benny Gantz carried out an assessment of the situation with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman, IDF Intelligence Directorate chief, the division general. Tamir Heiman, IDF Intelligence Analysis Chief, Brigadier General. Amit Saar and the head of the political and military office of the Ministry of Defense Zohar Palti.
No further information about the meeting was released in the statement from Gantz’s office.
Despite the lack of rocket fire, Hamas celebrated what it called a “confirmation” of the post-Operation Guardian of the Walls deterrence situation, after Israel changed flight paths and trajectory of the march of the flag and stepped up the deployment of the iron dome due to concerns of rocket fire.
“The courageous positions of the Palestinian resistance and its decisive decisions which forced the Israeli occupation to change the path of the so-called march of flags away from the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque, change the path of civil aviation and intensify the deployment of the Iron Dome, confirm the realization of the deterrence equation he imposed during the battle of Saif al-Quds, and his success in imposing new rules of engagement on the enemy, “said Hamas Tuesday night.
Former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told Army Radio on Wednesday morning that while Operation Guardian of the Walls had a “great” deterrent effect, it had not achieved much. complete deterrence, as evidenced by incendiary balloons.
“Hamas threatened, but they remembered what happened to them when they shot Jerusalem – so they didn’t shoot yesterday,” Yadlin added. “This is a missed opportunity to create new rules. If Hamas knows that after burning fields we will attack empty compounds, this will continue.”
While Gantz stressed that he “did not promise” to attack for “every rocket or balloon at 3 am,” he added that he would attack when it was “convenient” for Israel.
The Hamas terror movement had called for a “day of rage” to face the long-awaited and controversial flag march on Tuesday, encouraging Palestinians to “mobilize” in al-Aqsa and in the Old City of Jerusalem.
“May next Tuesday be a day of mobilization and attachment to the al-Aqsa mosque, and a day of anger and mistrust of the occupier,” Hamas said in a statement on Sunday. “Show God and your people what you have done there and be the best sword for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad issued a statement on Tuesday saying it would respond “with all force to provocations by settlers in the Holy City,” ahead of the flag march later in the evening.
The PIJ called on Palestinians to rally throughout Jerusalem, especially at the al-Aqsa Mosque and in areas where the flag march is to pass.
Despite threats, the march proceeded with relatively little violence. Clashes were reported between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but they had largely ended by Tuesday evening.
Anna Ahronheim and the staff of the Jerusalem Post contributed to this report.