Gaza (Palestinian Territories) (hooly News) – Blue, red, green, the balloons tied in a bouquet fly in the sky of Gaza towards Israel. In the distance, gunshots are heard. Israeli soldiers attempt to shoot down these innocent-looking intruders who in fact conceal explosive charges.
The incendiary balloons appeared in 2018 on the sidelines of demonstrations for the “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees and then disappeared a few months ago after the conclusion of an agreement under which Israel loosened its blockade on the Palestinian enclave in exchange calm down.
In recent weeks, rocket and mortar fire has increased from the Palestinian enclave to Israel. And incendiary balloons, a low-cost weapon that sows panic on the Israeli side, have returned.
One February evening in Al-Bureij camp, in the heart of the Gaza Strip, young Palestinians attach more than a dozen balloons that seem a priori harmless to explosive charges before releasing them to Israel.
“We are sending a message of challenge,” said Abu Hamza, a member of the “Descendants of Saladin” armed brigade, a Muslim hero of the Crusades, while preparing his flying bomb along the border.
“We are not afraid and we will start using them again despite the threats against us,” he told hooly News.
– “Yassine” missiles –
An Egyptian delegation traveled to Gaza this week to convince local factions to calm the game as tensions have escalated since the announcement of the US plan for the Middle East rejected by the Palestinians.
The recent shootings, coupled with Israeli reprisal strikes, weaken the truce in force since May between Israel and Hamas, the ruling movement in the enclave and which has already waged three wars against the Hebrew State since 2008.
But as the Egyptian delegation entered Gaza, seven young Palestinians gathered in a tent at Al-Bureij camp to make these things.
“They inflate the balloons with hydrogen, then equip them with bombs. The wick is lit and the balloons are dropped,” said Abu Malek, the team leader.
“It is we who, on the ground, decide the weight of the package that the balloons will carry and the distance to travel,” he added, saying that he had prepared a load of 900 grams called “Yassine” in tribute to Founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, killed by Israel in 2004.
He said to throw these devices “to make victims among the soldiers and in the houses”. “We are still targeting kibbutz (farming villages) and our balloons can go to Beersheva”, a city located about 50 km from Gaza, he claims.
In addition to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, hooded youths from Al-Bureij report three other armed groups involved in the balloon launches.
As soon as the balloons cross the barrier separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, the gunfire begins to reverberate on the horizon.
– Lasers as a parade? –
But in December, Israel presented a prototype laser, dubbed “Light Blade,” capable of destroying the balloons before they crossed the large barrier under Israeli control.
Israeli authorities, however, have not specified when this technology will be deployed.
They blame Hamas for launching rockets, mortars and launching incendiary balloons, believing that the Islamist movement is responsible for the territory it controls.
According to Khalil al-Hayya, a Hamas official, no official decision has been taken within this movement to launch the balloons again.
Young Palestinians “Independently” Decided To Do “To Pressure The Occupation Forces To Loosen The 2007 Israeli” Blockade Of Gaza Imposed In The Aftermath Of Hamas Takeover Of The Enclave , said Mr. Hayya.
According to Jamal al-Fadi, a professor of political science at al-Azhar University in Gaza, the launches will stop if Egypt, an Arab country that maintains relations with Hamas and Israel, manages to impose the long-term truce.
In the Al-Bureij camp, Abu Hamza assures him that he will comply with any decision by the Gaza movements: “If the decision is made to stop the launches, we will respect it”.
On Thursday, new balloons created scenes of panic, without causing casualties, in a school in Sderot, an Israeli city on the edge of Gaza.