Sunday, July 15, 2018

Breaking the hours-old cease-fire in Gaza, the IAF conducts air strikes on a number of sites across Gaza reportedly used as staging areas for incendiary kite and balloon attacks; 6 Palestinians are injured. The IDF says that it detected mortar fire from Gaza overnight, and that the renewed air strikes were a response to Palestinians breaking the cease-fire. Israeli drones strike 3 more sites in near Bayt Hanun and Rafah later in the day, injuring 3 Palestinians. Throughout the day, unidentified Palestinians fly incendiary kites and balloons across the border fence into Israel, sparking at least 17 fires. Meanwhile, an explosion in Gaza City kills 2 Palestinians and injures 3 others. One of the deceased was the commander of a rocket unit in al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed group affiliated with Fatah, sparking rumors that Israel was responsible for the explosion. The Palestinian press reports the explosion as a “work accident.” Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Dayr al-Balah and Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Israeli forces place two new iron gates at the entrances to Khan al-Ahmar, the Bedouin village near Jerusalem slated for evacuation and demolition. They also demolish 2 rooms in Palestinian-owned buildings near Nablus. IDF troops arrest 7 Palestinians during morning raids in Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, sparking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians (4 Palestinians are injured). They also arrest 6 Palestinians during late-night raids near Bethlehem, Jenin, and Salfit; and patrol near Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid in Hizma and clash with stone-throwing Palestinian minors during a raid in al-Ram. (AHR, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 7/15; MNA 7/16; PCHR 7/19)

Israeli sources say that the cease-fire reached on 7/14 includes a stipulation that Hamas and PIJ will gradually stop the incendiary kite and balloon attacks. “If in the past, 50 balloons were flown every time, for example, then now 20 balloons will be flown, tomorrow 10, and the next day less,” the source says. “That’s the agreement, and that is what has been decided between the sides.” Later, Netanyahu denies the report. “I heard it being said that Israel has agreed to a cease-fire that would allow the continuation of terrorism by incendiary kites and balloons; this is incorrect,” he says. “We are not prepared to accept any attacks against us, and we will respond appropriately.” Hamas officials say that the cease-fire covers rockets and mortars, but not incendiary kites and balloons. (JP, WAFA, YA 7/15)