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Rockets fired from Gaza as incendiary balloons hit southern Israel

CM 09/05/2021

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Red alert rocket sirens sounded in Ashkelon and the Gaza Envelope Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.Two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip. One rocket fell in an open area and Air Defense Artillery combat soldiers intercepted the second, according to the IDF.

Some 39 fires were caused by incendiary balloons in the south of Israel on Sunday, Israel’s Fire and Rescue services reported. The majority of the fires were started in open areas and did not cause damage, except for in three fields of wheat.A fire broke out in the Be’eri nature reserve and in the area between the Carmiya and Zikim kibbutzim in the Ashkelon Beach Regional Area near the Gaza Strip.

Two additional fires broke out between the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol Regional Councils; train activity between Ashkelon and Netivot was halted due to the spread of the fires. 

Road access was blocked off while firefights attempt to put the flames out. Due to the extreme heat on Sunday, numerous fires broke out in Israel’s South, including in Sderot, Rahat, Noam, Carmiya, Mavki’im and Erez. It is unclear what the direct cause of the fires is: the heat or the incendiary balloons. Highway 6 was closed to traffic. 
The incendiary balloons from Sunday follow a renewed trend that was reignited a week-and-a-half ago, when explosive balloons were launched from Gaza for the first time since March. 
The balloons were sent while a protest was ongoing at the Gaza border and the IDF was working to disperse the crowds. 
Before March, the last time such balloons launched from the Strip were in August, before a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was brokered. 
Over this past weekend, incendiary balloons launched from Gaza have caused numerous fires throughout Israel’s southern region, including five at the Kisufim forest and three in the Beer and Besor forests. 
Saturday marked the third consecutive day of fires breaking out in the region because of incendiary balloons. 
In total, there were 10 fires detected and put out over the weekend. The main damage was to wheat fields. 
Similarly, on Thursday, seven fires broke out in open fields, injuring no one but causing substantial damage to a wheat field.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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